CLAYTON, Mo. – An officer with the North County Police Cooperative has resigned over allegations he inappropriately touched someone in police custody. It’s the second time in less than a month that an officer from that department has been criminally charged.
According to Major Ron Martin, assistant police chief for the NCPC, the incident took place on June 3 on the grounds of Normandy High School.
Police claim Officer Marcellis Blackwell arrested a 37-year-old man that day, placed handcuffs on him, and drove him to a secluded part of the campus. Blackwell then put his hands down the victim’s pants without their consent and while he was still handcuffed.
The victim reported the incident to the NCPC on June 4, Martin said.
“It was shocking and disgusting to receive a complaint like this,” he said. “We investigated it thoroughly. Our investigator uncovered evidence that corroborated the victim’s statements.”
Blackwell, 33, resigned from the force when presented with the allegations. He was arrested June 7.
“Our investigators put handcuffs on our own police officers, and that is a hard thing to do, but it’s something that needed to be done,” Martin said.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Blackwell with one count of first-degree sodomy or attempted sodomy. He remains in custody at the St. Louis County Justice Center on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell praised both the victim for reporting the misconduct, and the NCPC for investigating the matter and making an arrest.
“Though it’s obviously disturbing, unethical, and unacceptable for a police officer to engage in this conduct, I am impressed that the victim trusted the Co-Op enough to file a complaint with them, and I salute the Co-Op for swiftly concluding an investigation and bringing an application for criminal charges to our Conviction and Incident Review Unit,” he said.
“Despite the disturbing and unethical act alleged about this police officer, the system worked in submitting him to the criminal justice process.”
Martin said the investigation is still ongoing. Both he and Bell are advising anyone else who may be a victim to come forward and contact the North County Police Cooperative at 314-499-6090.
It’s the second time in three weeks an officer from that department has been criminally charged. Back in May, a former corporal was charged with kidnapping and two counts of assault.
Martin said he hopes citizens judge the department on the actions of the majority and not the few.
“Being a police department for nine years and having this happened only twice, I think that speaks volumes about our professionalism and transparency,” he said.