Charges against San Bernardino police officer’s accuser dropped

FONTANA – Criminal charges against a man who accused an embattled San Bernardino Police Department sergeant of illegally detaining and searching him were dismissed Friday.Gregory Parker has spent nearly three years questioning the circumstances of his Sept. 18, 2007, arrest and fighting the two counts of possessing marijuana and receiving stolen property he was later charged with.

During a scheduled court hearing in Fontana Superior Court on Friday, supervising deputy district attorney Richard Alan Young said all charges were being dropped due to “insufficiency of evidence and in the interest of justice.”

He declined to provide specifics about why the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office was no longer interested in pursuing charges.

Parker’s defense attorney, Gary Wenkle Smith, said his client was “elated” and lauded the system for making justice its priority.

“It is truly humbling when the system works the way that it should. It is an ominous and powerful system and there is great possibility of mistakes being made,” Smith said. “When you have people in the district attorney’s office pursuing a matter with justice in mind, then justice prevails.”

Parker, who sat with his girlfriend and several friends prior to the hearing, declined to comment on the dismissal.

He was pulled over in Fontana for having tinted windows in September 2007. Parker has said San Bernardino police, specifically former narcotics Sgt. Brad Lawrence, searched his car without consent and detained him for nearly half a day while they sought evidence for a search warrant.

Parker was booked into jail after officers forced their way into his home and found marijuana and cash, the defense has alleged.

Parker’s case garnered a lot of attention after a booking log listing him as being held “on ice” surfaced. The term “on ice” refers to when officers illegally hold a suspect without probable cause.

The dismissal of Parker’s charges comes in the midst of an internal and criminal investigation into Lawrence, who was most recently placed on administrative leave Nov. 4.

Lawrence declined to comment Friday.

DA spokeswoman Susan Mickey said they are expected to make a decision on whether to file charges against Lawrence within the next 60 days.

San Bernardino Police Chief Keith Kilmer also declined to comment on the case or whether the dropped charges means there could be truth to Parker’s claim that he was detained and searched illegally.

He said he had not been briefed on the development and would need to confer with prosecutors.

The private investigator and criminologist Kilmer hired to review allegations of wrongdoing by Lawrence and his former narcotics team said Friday that justice is often tainted by politics.

“In the Parker case, the system prevailed and Parker found the justice that he sought,” said William H. Schneid, Ph.D. “Why it took so long for this resolution eludes me.”

stacia.glenn@inlandnewspapers.com, 909-386-3887

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