MARION, AR (WMC) - A Marion, Arkansas police officer has surrendered to authorities after a months-long investigation by state and local police.
Lieutenant Freddy Williams is charged with evidence tampering, possession of a controlled substance and violating the rules of conduct by a county officer or employee -- two felonies and a misdemeanor.
According to court documents, narcotics officers within the Marion Police Department set up hidden cameras after they suspected someone of tampering or stealing evidence.
The cameras caught Williams entering the evidence room 13 times between October and December, and on some occasions they said he could be seen stealing evidence and hiding it in his pants.
An affidavit says Williams later confessed to stealing marijuana and smoking it.
Police Chief Gary Kelley then contacted Arkansas State Police to investigate. ASP learned that Williams accessed the evidence room about 22 times during 2018, according to MPD computer records.
ASP secured a warrant for Williams’ arrest and he surrendered around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Williams was booked into the Crittenden County Detention Center. Records show Williams posted $10,000 bond and was released after spending less than an hour in jail.
Williams has been an officer with the Marion Police Department since 2000. An affidavit says he was in charge of the criminal investigations division.
In January, Chief Kelley said the department launched an internal investigation after hearing allegations involving the officer.
The officer, then unnamed, was suspended and the case was referred to ASP. WMC Action News 5 started looking into the case around the same time, but both Kelly and Mayor Frank Fogleman declined to comment on the investigation.
Several city counselors also said “no comment” or could not be reached. When WMC asked ASP about the investigation in January, a spokesperson said they weren’t involving an evidence locker, which prompted the investigation that resulted in Williams’ arrest.
The Marion Police Department is now trying to assess whether this will affect any of their cases. Court documents show MPD narcotics officers conducted an assessment of the evidence locker and determined there are 33 cases with missing evidence -- 23 with missing marijuana and 10 with missing prescription pills.