According to U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, the officers “sold their badges” to provide protection for gang members.
“When they sold their badges they betrayed not only the citizens they were sworn to protect, but also their fellow law enforcement officers who literally put their lives on the line every day to protect all of us,” Yates said.
Yates went on to say that this investigation began in 2011 when the ATF began investigating an Atlanta gang and learned that some of the people providing protection for the gang members were Atlanta police officers.
“Each of the officers charged today engaged in multiple drug transactions and took thousands of dollars in payoffs,” Yates said.
The Feds charge that the Atlanta officers provided security to gang members during drug transactions in exchange for money.
“Oftentimes the defendants showed up to the drug deals wearing their police uniforms. Oftentimes they drove their patrol cars. They were carrying their service weapons and conducted surveillance for the drug dealers,” Yates said.
Yates also pointed out that this corruption was widespread.
“What is troubling to us is that it was widespread; it wasn’t limited to just a bad group in one particular agency,” Yates said.
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said, “We will not stand for any officer stepping on the other side of the law. We will work with whatever authority there is to bring those officers to justice just as if we bring any other criminal to justice.”