Charges filed against Whitaker police officer
A part-time Whitaker police officer is facing multiple charges after an investigator with the district attorney's office said he broke a woman's window during a traffic stop then threatened to file charges if she didn't pay to fix the gun he used to do it.
Officer William Davis, 35, will be charged by summons with official oppression, making false statement, criminal mischief and criminal attempt related to the threat, the district attorney's office announced today.
The district attorney's office investigator concluded Officer Davis gave the woman two choices: agree to accept responsibility for the accident and avoid charges, or refuse and be charged, risking immediate jail time and potentially tarnishing her job pursuits.
According to the criminal complaint, Officer Davis pulled over Danielle Stillwell, 28, address unknown, about 9 p.m. June 27, just as she was turning off the Rankin Bridge onto Route 837.
Ms. Stillwell told investigators she noticed the car was unmarked, and the man exiting it was in plainclothes, so she pulled away before he reached her BMW sedan.
Officer Davis told police he was on the lookout for a sedan that may have been involved in drug activity, and that when he approached her car, he was wearing a visible police badge.
Ms. Stillwell told investigators she called 911 and stopped in traffic near the intersection of Route 837 and Hoffman Boulevard, when Officer Davis approached her car, gun drawn, and demanded she roll down the window, according to the affidavit. When she inadvertently rolled down the driver's side rear window, he attempted twice to break the driver's window with his gun, creating two holes, she told police.
Officer Davis told police Ms. Stillwell ignored his commands to exit the vehicle and saw her reaching for something in the center console, so he attempted to break the window, according to the affidavit.
Ms. Stillwell said she exited the car, was handcuffed and lay on the ground for about five to 10 minutes when a uniformed officer arrived. That officer, she said, asked if she had any drugs or weapons in the car, and she said no, according to the affidavit.
Officer Davis searched the car then had it towed, while Ms. Stillwell was taken to the borough police station by another uniformed officer.
Investigators found that Officer Davis' statement that three other officers saw Ms. Stillwell exit the car and witnessed him handcuffing her was unfounded -- all three said she was in handcuffs prior their arrival.
At the station, Officer Davis interviewed Ms. Stillwell and permitted her to leave after she agreed to pay for the damage to his gun to avoid charges.
In text messages Ms. Stillwell provided to investigators, Officer Davis said he would file charges against Ms. Stillwell after she alerted him that she had reported him to the district attorney's office.
First Published October 19, 2012 8:57 pm