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August 27, 10

NEWS / Former Camden Police Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Deprive Others of Civil Rights

CAMDEN, NJóA former Camden, N.J. police sergeant pleaded guilty today to conspiring with other Camden police officers to deprive others of their civil rights, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Dan E. Morris, 47, of Moorestown, NJ, pled guilty to an Information before United States District Judge Robert B. Kugler, admitting that he engaged in a conspiracy with at least four other Camden police officers to deprive individuals of their due process rights while on duty as a uniformed police officer with the Camden Police Department.

Morris admitted that between May 2007 and September 2008, he conducted illegal searches without a search warrant or consent; obtained coerced consents to search residences based on threats and undue pressure; stole money during illegal searches and arrests; and allowed officers he supervised to include facts in police reports that were false.

Morris is the third to plead guilty to participating in this conspiracy while serving as a Camden police officer. Kevin Parry and Jason Stetser entered guilty pleas before Judge Kugler on March 19, 2010, and June 29, 2010, respectively. Both await sentencing. Two other officers referenced in court documents have not been identified by name.

U.S. Attorney Fishman stated: ďAs a supervisor, Morris had an obligation to hold other officers to the highest standards of behavior. He opted instead to condone and commit a series of crimes. Our Office remains focused on rooting out such corruption, which insidiously eats away at the publicís confidence in those sworn to protect the rights of our citizens.Ē According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Camden federal court:

Morris became an officer with the Camden Police Department in 1986 and served as a sergeant during the relevant period. Morris supervised Parry, Stetser and officers identified in court documents as Officers #2 and #4.

Morris admitted that he and other members of the conspiracy conducted illegal searches of residences without warrants or valid consent and that he and other members of the conspiracy stole money during searches. Morris also admitted that the members of the conspiracy he supervised falsified police reports and testified falsely under oath in an endeavor to conceal their actions.

During his guilty plea, Morris detailed specific examples of his illegal conduct in support of the conspiracy:

In August 2008, Morris and other officers conducted an illegal search of a Camden residence that uncovered drugs which were used to charge a person identified as A.C. Morris also kept a portion of the money found during this search rather than turning it in as evidence. Stetser then falsified a police report in connection with the arrest.

In September 2008, Morris, Stetser, and Parry conducted a search of a residence located in the area of Ferry Avenue in Camden. Morris admitted that while conducting the search, he stole a quantity of money he found in a bedroom dresser, sharing $800 with Stetser after the search.

On another occasion in the summer of 2008, Morris and Officer #4 stole approximately $1,000 from a car in the area of Washington Park in Camden that Morris and Officer #4 were waiting with until it could be towed away. Morris admitted that he and Officer #4 split the money and he told Officer #4 not to put the money in the bank.

Morris pled guilty to conspiring to deprive persons in New Jersey of the free exercise and enjoyment of rights, privileges and immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, a crime which carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Judge Kugler scheduled sentencing for December 2, 2010.

Fishman credited special agents of the FBIís Resident Agency in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jayne L. Challman; investigators and prosecutors of the Camden County Prosecutorís Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk; the Camden Police Department, under the direction of Chief John S. Thomson; and deputy attorney generals from the New Jersey Attorney Generalís Office, Division of Criminal Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Paula T. Dow, with developing the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin T. Smith and Matthew J. Skahill of the U.S. Attorneyís Office Criminal Division in Camden, along with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Kase, a Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit with the New Jersey Attorney Generalís Office on special assignment for purposes of this investigation.

Defense counsel: Paul A. Sarmousakis, Esq., Avalon, N.J.


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AnnaMaria Realbuto
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