Another scandal involving an SCMPD officer unfolds, and once again former Chief Lovett is implicated in a possible crime.
An officer suspended, about to be fired over tv’s, cell phones and cash.
All part of an undercover operation police say taken by Corporal Daryle McCormick himself, to give away to his friends in the department, including former Chief Willie Lovett.
“We are announcing the suspension of one of our officers, Cpl Daryle McCormick, pending the results of a year long investigation,” said SCMPD Chief Jack Lumpkin.
That investigation accuses McCormick of taking tv’s, cell phones and cash from an undercover “storefront”, part of ATF’s “Operation Pulaski”.
You may remember we told you about that operation back in 2013.
It netted almost 200 guns, stacks and stacks of drugs and 33 arrests.
But officials say it also allowed McCormick to take advantage – and take thousands of dollars in merchandise.
Surveillance video shows McCormick going in the “storefront” after hours, and walking away with a 60 inch television.
Investigators say he also took nearly $2000 out of the safe on that occasion – and have video of another day when he took another tv.
And that McCormick gave at least two laptops and cell phones to former chief Willie Lovett so they could “stay in touch” during the undercover operation.
One of those phones was allegedly given to the woman believed to be Lovett’s mistress Trina Mayes.
McCormick even kept paying for Lovett’s cell phone after he had retired.
Investigators also say McCormick was in charge of money for Operation Pulaski’s “churning account” which would be used to trade for guns or drugs – but he “lost or forgot” receipts regularly, and didn’t have time to balance the books because of his other duties.
And McCormick was caught saying that receipts would “f” up the chief over Trina Mayes, and he “wanted me to get rid of the receipts”.
Current Savannah Chatham Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said no current officers are connected to this investigation. He apologized to the people of savannah – and said he is working to “change the culture” of the department.
“The actions of Cpl McCormick and other I have described they are the actions of a police department of the past. They will not be tolerated in the SCMPD of today,” said the Chief.
News 3 talked to McCormick’s lawyer Page Pate late Wednesday afternoon.
He calls McCormick a “scapegoat”.
Pate says McCormick denies taking any money that was not authorized by the ATF. The leadership of the ATF approved each and every payment and benefit provided to Chief Lovett during the the time the storefronts were in operation.
McCormick specifically asked about the TV for lovett and was told it was ok by the supervising agent of the operation.
His client made no false statements during the investigation. Pate says he has evidence McCormick was resigning in “good standing”, and the ATF agreed.
Adding to this is retaliation for reporting an affair between ATF Agent Lou Valoze and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Ippolito.
Both Valoze and Ippolito have been removed from court duties, and nearly 200 cases the two worked on could be in jeopardy.
McCormick has been suspended and SCMPD says he will be fired pending a hearing with the City Attorney, but he has not been charged criminally yet. ==================================================================================== Savannah Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin announces the suspension of a corporal while apologizing the the citizens of Chatham County for the corruption that has plagued the department over the past years.
Lumpkin says an administrative investigation led to the suspension of Corporal Daryle McCormick. McCormick is accused of stealing cash, computers and other items while in office. Lumpkin says, many of these items were then given to former Chief Willie Lovett. Lovett is now serving time behind bars on corruption charges.
The chief asks the residents of Chatham County to remember all the good men and women who serve in the department and he stresses that he will work to make this type of corruption a thing of the past.
We will continue to follow this story on WSAV.com and on First News at Five, including an interview with attorney representing Daryl McCormick.
For the full investigation go HERE.