Former police captain pleads guilty after FBI investigation into wrongful arrests
WINNSBORO, TX (KLTV) - A former East Texas police captain pleaded guilty to depriving citizens of their rights by planting evidence on them in order to make drug arrests.
More than a year ago, we told you the FBI was investigating the Winnsboro Police Department. Federal court documents reveal the wrong-doing that investigation uncovered.
In June of last year, the Winnsboro Police Department was turned upside down. One of the community's most well-liked officers, Captain Roderick Hashaway, was accused of planting drugs to make drug arrests.
In federal court this week, Hashaway pleaded guilty to depriving citizens of their rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Court documents say, Hashaway "planted and caused to be planted in a vehicle...methamphetamine... and thereafter seized and arrested [an individual] and charged him with unlawful possession of a controlled substance."
The documents go on to explain that Hashaway instructed a confidential informant to hide drugs in a vehicle so that when he pulled the driver over and requested to search the car, he would find drugs underneath the driver's seat.
"It gave us a black eye. It gives all of law enforcement a black eye," says Winnsboro's new police chief Andy Chester. Chester took over as police chief in September of 2012.
Hashaway's guilty plea could impact the legitimacy of numerous narcotics investigations. In 2007, Hashaway all but bragged about making a huge drug arrest
"I feel pretty good. I got a major crack dealer off the street," he said in May of 2007.
Now that arrest, and plenty of others, could be called into question.
"I think since we've been here, myself, Chief Miller and Lieutenant Hirsh, since we took over we made over a 100 narcotics arrests," said Hashaway in 2007.
"We anticipate some... a lot actually.. a lot of impact," Chester says regarding the disposition of some of those charges.
Chester says their books are open and they're willing to do what's necessary to set the records straight.
"We want to make sure we do everything just like we're supposed to," he says.
Chief Chester says the department is turning over a new leaf and working to earn back the community's trust.
"We have spent the last year changing our image completely. We're even redoing the building. We're putting a new coat of paint on it. We're putting a new coat of paint on ourselves too," Chester says.
It's not just about new squad cars, their new patch or even the body cameras all officers are required to wear on duty. It's about being the police department the community deserves.
"We're here to protect and serve and that's what we're going to do," he says.
The terms of Hashaway's plea agreement are sealed. However, he faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
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