(Photo: Screen Grab via Myfoxdetroit.com)
An investigation is now underway in Detroit after two veteran police sergeants were accused with photographic evidence of robbing and pistol whipping two young men outside a Citgo gas station on that city's east side on July 21.
A report on MyFoxdetroit.com initially identified the officers caught on camera during the alleged incident by a passerby, as police impersonators.
When investigators from the Detroit Police Department began looking into the incident, however, they recognized one of the suspects as one of their colleagues.
"Several unidentified police officers [who] were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department," Chief James Craig told My Fox Detroit on Monday.
The two officers, a 47-year-old, 20-year veteran and his 42-year-old friend, a former Detroit officer now a 17-year veteran with the St. Clair Shores Police Department, were subsequently arrested. They were off duty at the time of the incident.
They allegedly approached their victims at the gas station via a black pickup from which they jumped with their guns drawn and badges around their necks. The officers reportedly searched the young men said to be in their early 20s. One of them was allegedly then pistol-whipped and relieved of his wallet and cell phone. The other man claims to have been relieved of his money as well.
The Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday that the officers were released from custody pending a review of the case. Although no charges have yet been filed, the sergeants have been suspended from their jobs.
Sources in that report indicated that the men who were accosted by the officers are believed to be connected to a robbery and assault on a daughter of one of the sergeants, which resulted in her cell phone being taken.
While he wouldn't talk about the case in that report, an attorney for the St. Clair Shores sergeant, Todd Flood, said the news reports on the incident are not reflective of what really transpired.
"This is a case that as the truth comes out, it will be different than what's being reported," he said.
"Once the investigation has been completed and finalized and charges, if any, from the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office have been determined, we shall have an additional statement at that time," said St. Clair Shores Police Chief Michael Walleman in a statement Tuesday.