ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis police sergeant who used to lead an association for black officers was indicted Monday on allegations that he defrauded the organization of more than $80,000.
Darren Randal Wilson, 41, faces nine felony counts of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis said.
Wilson shares a first and last name with the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014. They are not related. The former Ferguson officer, who was white, was cleared of wrongdoing and resigned in November 2014. The officer charged Monday is black.
The indictment alleges that Darren Randal Wilson misappropriated money from the bank account of the Ethical Society of Police in 2013 and 2014.
Wilson has been suspended from the police department since last year, said Police Chief Sam Dotson, who added that the department began an investigation in January 2015 after the Ethical Society of Police raised concerns about financial irregularities.
“We hold our officers to the highest standards and when they fall short of what we expect, we take action,” Dotson said in a statement.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Ethical Society of Police still exists. A listed phone number did not work, the organization’s website was down and its Facebook page has not been updated since December 2014.
Wilson’s attorney, Tim Smith, cautioned against a rush to judgment, noting Wilson’s long tenure as a police officer who protected the community.
“If there’s anyone who deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s Mr. Wilson,” Smith said.
The similar names of the two officers caused confusion soon after Brown, who was black and unarmed, was killed during a street confrontation with the Ferguson officer on Aug. 9, 2014. Darren Randal Wilson said at the time that he and his children received hate messages from some who found his name and position on the Internet and thought he was the Ferguson officer.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.