Five Tulsa Police Officers Indicted In Corruption Probe

Tuesday, July 20th 2010, 3:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Five more Tulsa police officers were indicted and arrested Tuesday, following a federal grand jury investigation of corruption in the department. Another officer has already pleaded guilty in connection with the case.

Officers Jeff Henderson, Bill Yelton, Nick DeBruin and Bruce Bonham turned themselves in to the FBI.  Officer Harold Wells, who retired in May, was also arrested. 

Read the indictments against Officer DeBruin, Officer Bonham, and Officer Wells.

Read the indictments against Officer Henderson and Officer Yelton.

The indictment alleged Henderson and Yelton persuaded a witness to testify falsely against a man who was convicted in a drug case and sent to prison. Bonham, DeBruin and Wells were accused of planting drug evidence on people they arrested.

Officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton remained behind bars Tuesday night.  Officers Wells and DeBruin pled not guilty and are out on $50,000 bond.  Officer Bonham is expected to enter a plea later this week.

"You know I think the citizens of Tulsa deserve to have confidence in their law enforcement officers," said Jane Duke, U.S. Attorney. "And have confidence that they are upholding their duty with integrity protecting citizens but also protecting those citizens constitutional rights."

Read the release from the U.S. Attorney's Office

The new charges come after one officer, JJ Gray, pleaded guilty to theft. He is awaiting sentencing in October.

A former federal agent, Brandon McFadden, pleaded guilty as well to a charge of conspiracy and he's helping prosecutors make their case against the others.

Tulsa's mayor promised swift action against the officers if the charges hold up.

"The taxpayers of the City of Tulsa, the citizens of the City Tulsa, have invested a huge amount in the training and salaries of the officers that are alleged to have been involved in corruptive practices and we simply and cannot and will not accept such behavior," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

6/23/2010  Related Story: Another Tulsa Officer Suspended In Police Corruption Investigation

"What we plan on doing is evaluating the entirety of the Tulsa Police Department management structure, from the top to the bottom, to see where this can be addressed in the most equitable, but also in a sure and swift way," Mayor Bartlett said. "Whatever problems we have in this police department, if they can be identified, will be reacted to quickly and severely."

Officer Jeff Henderson faces the most charges, 58 counts of witness tampering and perjury.

So far, 11 people have been released from prison, and 3 other cases are under review, because these officers were involved in the convictions.

Statement from Tulsa Police Department

This type of behavior is not indicative of the Tulsa Police Department or the profession. This behavior is an anomaly and an isolated incident; nonetheless, the actions of a few have cast doubt on the hard-working honest men and women of the Tulsa Police Department. The rank and file is outraged by this type of behavior and will not stand or tolerate it in any form.

The Police Department and its employee's remain committed to the citizens of Tulsa to provide the high quality service that they have become accustomed to.