Federal prosecutors dropped the case against an alleged drug dealer and an Oklahoma City police sergeant has been disciplined after he made false statements to secure a search warrant in the case.
Sgt. Keith Medley was suspended without pay for two days, placed on disciplinary probation for a year, given a Class III reprimand, and transferred to a non-enforcement division of the police force after admitting that he overstated evidence and made false statements about a suspect's criminal history in an effort to get a search warrant for the suspect's apartment.
In February 2015, Sgt. Medley asked Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong for permission to search the residence of a reported gang member, Victor Dewayne Gaines. In the warrant request, Medley stated that he found "several" sandwich bags containing marijuana residue in trash bags taken from the apartment. He also stated that he had seen Gaines come and go from the apartment several times during a 48-hour surveillance and told the judge that Gaines had an extensive criminal history that included a conviction for shooting with intent to kill as well as arrests for drug trafficking and marijuana possession.
After determining that Medley made false statements in order to secure a search warrant, a federal judge suppressed the evidence gained fromm the illegal search, leading federal prosecutors to dismiss the drug case against Gaines.
A federal judge said that Medley may not have intentionally misled the judge in seeking the search warrant, but that his false statements were "reckless." Specifically, the judge found that Medley made the following errors:
- Overstated the number of baggies supposedly containing marijuana residue (two, rather than several)
- Assumed the green flecks in the baggies were marijuana, but did not conduct field tests to be certain
- Overstated Gaines's criminal history (one conviction for shooting with intent to kill, but no drug arrests)
- Neglected to state that the "black male" who took out the trash bags officers searched was a child of 8 or 10 years old
- Neglected to state that from his point of surveillance, Medley could not actually be certain where the child taking out the trash came from
Had the judge determined that Medley was intentionally deceptive, rather than "recklessly indifferent to the falsity of material statements in his affidavit and the misleading effect of his omissions of certain true facts," the sergeant would likely have faced more serious consequences, including dismissal from the police force.
Although the federal case against Gaines has been dismissed, he still faces a weapons charge in Oklahoma County for possession of a firearm after prior felony conviction.