Dickerson suspended without pay in aftermath of Brothers’ arrest
By Traci Chapman
Eddie Dickerson has been suspended without pay as Union City’s police chief.
The move came Monday night, during an emergency town council meeting. Mayor Larry Kesler said Dickerson would be suspended without pay pending the resolution of felony charges brought against Union City police officer Scottie Brothers. The move was taken after it became public Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards alleged a cover-up by members of the Union City Police Department, including Dickerson, of the accusations made against Brothers. Requests for comment by Town Council members were not answered; it was not known whether Edwards’ allegations led to Dickerson’s suspension.
Edwards on Jan. 8 revoked a cross-deputy agreement with Union City Police Department. Edwards has historically cross-deputized members of every municipal police force in Canadian County, to allow for better cooperation and give local officers a chance to move beyond their own city’s boundaries when investigating crimes. It is the first time Edwards has taken such action.
The move came the same day Brothers, 32, was arrested at his home Jan. 8, charged with two felonies – possession of stolen property and providing firearms to a convicted felon. Edwards outlined allegations in a Jan. 8 letter sent to Union City Police Chief Eddie Dickerson. Edwards said he sent the letter after investigators discovered a “disturbing pattern of behavior” in connection with the alleged theft of guns from former Union City officer Bill Ingram. The case, which began with a series of events in May 2010, involved not only one officer, who was directly involved in criminal activity, but also alleged actions – and inaction – by other Union City personnel, he said.
“We uncovered a lot of evidence that showed us Chief Dickerson knew of these events and he did not address them,” Edwards said Monday. “It is a situation that we’ve had a difficult time understanding.”
“I can no longer in good faith continue to extend my sheriff’s authority to your agency, deputizing you and your officers. In accordance with our Cross Commission Agreement, I am hereby notifying you, your Mayor and your City Council that our Interlocal Agreement, dated Sept. 18, 2009, along with any subsequent renewal date, is no longer valid or in force,” Edwards stated in the letter.
Brothers was accused of stealing two guns from a then-fellow Union City police officer, William Ingram. The former officer told sheriff’s investigators Brothers had a key to his home in May 2010, when his family went on vacation. Upon his return, Ingram said he could not find two weapons he kept in the house. After an exhaustive search, Ingram said he believed he misplaced the two guns.
The situation changed in June 2011, when Ingram said he received a call from a man known to both him and Brothers, a convicted felon who remains unnamed at this time. Ingram told investigators the man asked for his help with a malfunctioning gun, and when Ingram took a look at it, he realized the firearm was one of those missing from his house in May 2010. In Oklahoma, convicted felons are not allowed to own or possess firearms. The man allegedly told Ingram Brothers sold him the weapon, Edwards said.
“He knew there was a problem, first because he believed there was only one way that gun got into that man’s hands – Scottie Brothers,” Edwards said. “He also knew, and he knew Brothers knew, that selling the man the gun was a real issue.”
That’s where Dickerson allegedly entered the picture, Edwards said. Ingram told investigators he went to his chief and reported the theft and the sale of the gun to the convicted felon. In response, investigators alleged Dickerson told Ingram to keep quiet.
“…Mr. Ingram supplied Oklahoma City investigators and Canadian County sheriff’s investigators with conversations between you and Mr. Ingram, where he informed you of the thefts and turned the same evidence over to you two years ago,” Edwards stated in his Jan. 8 letter. “He also informed investigators he was intimidated by you and other members of your staff into not pursuing charges, he said he felt he would be terminated if he did.”
Investigators said Ingram approached them in November 2012, after he allegedly could not get Dickerson to act on his accusations. Ingram provided tapes documenting conversations between Ingram and the convicted felon and the felon and Brothers, during which the Union City police officer allegedly admitted to selling Ingram’s gun to the man, Edwards and Undersheriff Chris West said.
The case against Brothers was filed in Oklahoma County because law enforcement in Canadian County was involved in the case, and as a member of law enforcement, Brothers had had contact with county prosecutors, which could pose a conflict of interest, Edwards said. According to the Oklahoma State Court Network, no hearings have yet been set in the case.
West declined to speculate about whether any other action might be taken as a result of the case, saying that the Union City board of trustees or the district attorney would be the appropriate bodies to take additional action.
Capt. Robert Ague was named as acting police chief. Ague is Dickerson’s son-in-law. Union City’s clerk is Gina Dickerson, the suspended chief’s wife. City officials say Dickerson’s daughter also works for the city.
Dickerson has been on leave since a motorcycle accident last summer. The Union City man was injured, along with his wife, in North Dakota. Gina Dickerson has returned to work on a part-time basis, officials said.
Dickerson did not respond to requests for comment.
Kelly Rupp contributed to this story.