ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A former police officer asked a federal judge for mercy on Wednesday after being accused of sexually abusing people he’d arrested. The former officer was already charged locally. Additional federal charges resulted in prosecutors asking for the defendant to remain locked up until trial.
According to the court record, Marcellis Blackwell’s phone also has videos of unidentified victims he arrested. That was part of the federal prosecutor’s argument in court Wednesday, asking for Blackwell to stay in jail.
FOX 2 interviewed Blackwell in February 2023, when he was still a police officer for the North County Police Cooperative, also known as NCPC. Four months later, his own department arrested him and sought the criminal charges he currently faces.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Blackwell in June 2023 with forcible sodomy and kidnapping after his alleged sex abuse of an arrestee.
NCPC continued investigating and brought in the FBI. That resulted in the discovery of seven more alleged sex abuse victims. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then charged Blackwell with 16 felony counts of deprivation of rights and five counts of falsifying records for allegedly turning off his body cam.
Federal prosecutor Christine Krug explained how federal agents found other videos.
“During the course of the investigation, the FBI was able to review the contents of the defendant’s cell phone,” she said. “In the cell phone are videos similar to the ones of the known victims or as-yet identified victims.”
Citizens like Kenny Rhodes and Ranada Anthony are rattled but thankful for the courage of the alleged victims as well as the integrity of a police department willing to investigate its own officer.
“That’s a testament to them, so they did the right thing by reporting it,” Rhodes said.
Anthony added, “Y’all did a great job, Coop, and I appreciate that, and I’m sure the community appreciates that as well.”
After a day of deliberation, the judge agreed with the federal prosecutor’s arguments that it would be too risky to give Blackwell a chance for pre-trial release. The defendant will be detained as he awaits trial.