A top man at the Indianapolis Metro Police Department has been demoted from his rank of major after he defended a convicted rapist in court, questioning the legitimacy of an IMPD investigation.
Michael Jefferson is no longer “Major Jefferson” thanks to his bizarre actions, and has been kicked off the command staff of IMPD Chief Bryan Roach.
On December 6, Jefferson asked the judge to be lenient when sentencing Lance Fleming, who had been accused of raping a woman in 2015.
“I know him to be honest, hardworking, dependable and a great father,” Jefferson wrote in a one-page letter, adding that they had served in the Army National Guard together. “As I understand it this is a questionable case.”
According to the Indy Star, Fleming reportedly came to his female friend’s apartment to fix a door, but ended up taking his clothes off while approaching her.
“No, don’t do this,” the woman told Fleming, according to court records. But Fleming replied: “I want you; you know I’ve always wanted you.”
Fleming then pinned her to the bed and stripped her down before having his way with her.
“There was nothing I could do,” the victim told an IMPD detective, “he was so heavy on me that I couldn’t breathe.”
Fleming denied the incident ever happened. Convicted in October and sentenced this month, he was given a five-year sentence in state prison and required to register as a sex offender.
For the IMPD, it was a stab in the back for a major to accuse them of mishandling the investigation.
“(Fleming) was charged and openly convicted of that crime. Then we have someone representing our department asking for leniency in sentencing,” IMPD Assistant Chief Randal Taylor said. “That gives a bad taste to the victim, the detective and everyone involved in that.”
Taylor said that Jefferson -who will be busted to lieutenant- should have gone through proper channels, as his actions downplayed a trauma faced by a woman.
“At the least, he should have contacted me to run it by me prior to sending that letter,” Taylor said. “That was never done. I wouldn’t have authorized it in the first place. She’s a victim. She deserves respect. We take all cases very seriously, especially one involving such a terrible crime.”
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