2 COPS PLEAD GUILTY, HELP CASE
They Admit Roles In Charges Against Third Officer Who's Been Indicted
Two Memphis police officers pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to charges they extorted cash and planted drugs on motorists in bogus traffic stops.
West Precinct officers Adam Gagnier, 29, and Jennifer Vickery, 35, have agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors investigating similar incidents involving at least one other officer currently under indictment.
Both admitted playing roles in charges pending against fellow officer James Fetter.
Fetter, who's in federal custody, was indicted last week on charges of violating the civil rights of his estranged wife and her employer.
Gagnier told authorities he planted drugs on Leah Fetter and Bert Adcock at the urging of Fetter, his patrol partner.
Gagnier, who joined the department in January 2002, faces up to 40 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. He resigned Sept. 16.
Vickery, who also became a police officer in January 2002, faces up to 20 years in prison. She was relieved of duty last month and is expected to resign.
"She has been cooperating fully and she's admitted everything in this case," said Asst. U.S. Atty. Steve Parker.
He said the government will recommend a sentence reduction if Vickery and Gagnier continue to cooperate.
In a criminal information, in which a defendant waives indictment by a grand jury, Gagnier acknowledged that he and Fetter stopped Laquan Neal and Latoya Greer on Feb. 25, 2004, at Danny Thomas and Jackson and took $2,800 in cash from them and said the money was being officially seized.
When Neal and Greer protested and asked for a receipt, the officers threatened to arrest them. The motorists were released, no receipt was given and the seized money wasn't reported to the Police Department.
The two officers then split the cash, prosecutors said.
Gagnier pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of Neal, Greer, Adcock and Leah Fetter.
Fetter remains under indictment in the cases.
Gagnier also pleaded guilty to using blank offense reports to create a false burglary report at his residence on Spottswood in June or July and filing false insurance claims that netted him $5,323.
Vickery, once a regular partner to Gagnier, pleaded guilty to stopping motorist Terrence Edwards on July 3, 2004, at Jackson and Montgomery and taking $6,000 from a locked console box in his vehicle.
She and Gagnier split the money and charged Edwards with drug possession after planting cocaine in his car, court documents state.
Vickery also pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to mail fraud stemming from a February incident in which Fetter wounded himself in the biceps while on duty, but reported that a suspect shot him so he could get medical benefits and injury pay.
Vickery said she received a pistol from Gagnier, but later became suspicious and asked him if it had been used to stage Fetter's shooting.
When Gagnier acknowledged that it had, Vickery returned the pistol so the evidence could be destroyed, authorities said.