A Gary Police
officer accused of ghost employment and charged with two counts of theft has
been vindicated, her attorneys said, after the Lake County Prosecuting
Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges pending against her.
Powell, a GPD officer since 2002, was charged with theft on April 4, 2013,
following an internal affairs investigation into her secondary employment,
attorneys Scott King and Russell Brown said in a statement released today.
That investigation concluded that Powell collected wages from her GPD
position while working as a corrections officer at the Lake County Jail and
also as a private security agent.
“forever changed her life,” King and Brown said. “Before given a proper
trial, Officer Powell was tried in the court of public opinion; her picture
plastered on a series of newspaper articles and social media outlets.”
On April 16,
however, the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office dismissed those
charges. “Once the time records and other information regarding all three
jobs were obtained, it became clear that there was no evidence of Powell
being paid twice for the same time,” King and Brown said. “In short, the
investigation by . . . the Gary Police Department was riddled with
inaccurate and incomplete facts and other information.”
Since early this
year, Powell has been suspended from the GPD without pay based upon a
pending complaint in the Gary Police Commission. “We are demanding her
immediate reinstatement to full duty and payment of all wages lost as a
result of actions taken by the Department based upon these charges,” King
said. “In addition, should she desire, we intend to seek her reinstatement
to the other positions she was wrongfully terminated from.”
“This ordeal has
been devastating to Officer Powell, but she is reassured that justice has
been partially restored,” King and Brown added.