Posted on August 24, 2010

Officer Investigated: Des Moines Police Sergeant Asked Officer to Release Suspect in Iowa State Fair Fight

Aaron Brilbeck, WHO-TV (Des Moines), August 24, 2010

As police are investigating a rash of what could be racially motivated attacks near the Iowa State Fair, they’re also investigating one of their own officers.

One of the attacks occurred on August 14 in the parking lot of Gerry’s bar. Witness Brian Ray Fees, a bartender at Gerry’s Bar, says the attackers were beating the victim while shouting racial slurs. “Just kill the white dude. Kick his butt. That kind of thing. A lot of expletives too,” Fees says.

Hoover High School basketball player Reginald White was identified by the victim and witnesses as the ringleader of the attack and arrested. But according to police reports obtained by Channel 13 News, Police Sergeant Lillie Miller called the arresting officer and asked him to release White with just a ticket. When the officer refused, according to the report, Sgt. Miller replied, “Fine, I will just bond him out.” And, police say, that’s what Miller did.

Now, Miller is being disciplined for not going through the proper channels in White’s arrest. {snip} Lavorato [police spokeswoman Lori Lavorato] says it does not appear Miller was asking for any type of preferential treatment for White, who police say is a friend of Miller’s son.

Text of Press Release (scroll down):

Senior Police Officer Lillie Miller was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on February 9. Hers was one of five promotions made by Chief Judy A. Bradshaw. Miller’s promotion carries the distinction of being the first African-American female Des Moines Police Officer to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Miller received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa, her Master’s Degree and a Public Managers Certificate from Drake University where she was also inducted into the National Honors Society for Public Affairs & Administration, Pi Alpha Alpha, for her academic excellence. Miller joined the department in 1999, and has worked in several positions: Patrol Division, the Airport Unit, Inspections Unit, Office of Professional Standards, and is currently assigned to the Planning and Budget Section. Miller has also worked on a recruitment committee for the department. Congratulations to Miller and all officers who were promoted.

[The official press release announcing the promotion of Des Moines’s first black police sergeant can be downloaded as a PDF file here. See page 4.]