- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

BROOKLYN, Ill. (AP) - The police chief of a southwestern Illinois village is out of a job after state and county officials seized a cache of weapons during a raid of the department, the latest blow to a cluster of troubled law enforcement agencies just outside St. Louis.

Illinois State Police and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office confiscated the weapons, computers and documents from the Brooklyn Police Department in a March 25 raid caught on camera by a local TV news crew.

Officials in Brooklyn said Monday that Police Chief Steve Mitchell was no longer employed. A police sergeant referred additional questions to the village’s mayor, who could not be immediately reached. A state police spokesman did not respond to several interview requests, and St. Clair prosecutor Brendan Kelly declined comment, citing the pending investigation.

But in a related move, Kelly is declining to prosecute any cases handled by a Brooklyn detective accused of taking an illegal assault rifle from the department’s evidence vault, keeping it in his squad car and posing with the weapon for a department calendar. Ammunition and suspected controlled substances seized with the gun remain missing, Kelly said in a letter to Brooklyn Mayor Vera Glasper-Banks.

“I am struck by the fact that he is a veteran police officer who knew or should have known that his actions breached the integrity of the evidence in a criminal case,” Kelly wrote, calling the detective’s actions a “flagrant violation of fundamental police protocol” that creates an “irreparable credibility deficit.”

Kelly also won’t prosecute cases involving vehicles towed by a firm that contracts with the village police force and is owned by a relative of another Brooklyn officer, Dean Anderson of Cahokia, who separately was charged last week with aggravated battery and public contractor misconduct involving an alleged off-duty assault of an East St. Louis student.

A second Kelly letter to the mayor detailing his concerns about Classic Auto Body Towing of Swansea notes that Brooklyn officers have said they “often feel pressured to tow vehicles to generate revenue” for the police department’s payroll.

A state commission formed by former Gov. Pat Quinn has overseen the police departments in Brooklyn and neighboring Alorton, Washington Park and East St. Louis since 2012.

Kelly told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in January 2014 that of the 13 police officers charged with crimes in his first three years on the job, nine had worked in one of the four departments now under state oversight. Kelly has previously described the four Metro East cities as “failed states” plagued by rampant lawlessness and open drug dealing.


Follow Alan Scher Zagier on Twitter at https://twitter.com/azagier

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