Our firm was recently retained to represent Daryle McCormick after he was suspended from the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department. Daryle was accused of taking money and property from an undercover ATF “storefront sting” operation in the Savannah area.
Daryle has worked for the SCMPD for almost 20 years and has an outstanding record with the department. Daryle also served as a Task Force Officer with the ATF for many years and was personally involved in numerous successful federal criminal prosecutions. Based on our review of the facts of the case, Daryle did not commit any crime. He did everything as his supervisors instructed and in the best interests of the undercover operation.
It is no secret that the ATF has been criticized recently for its operation of similar “storefront stings” where they lure unsuspecting individuals in an attempt to generate criminal cases for gun and drug distribution and trading in counterfeit goods. There are virtually no effective rules for these operations and very little guidance on how the money and property should be handled. In the absence of clear rules or effective guidance, the officers who are working these investigations are left to make up the rules themselves and are then criticized after the fact if their decisions seem inconsistent with subsequent agency directives.
When the SCMPD suspended Daryle, the Chief of Police held a news conference and released a considerable amount of information that was part of an ongoing federal investigation. We believe the Chief was attempting to justify his decision to recommend Daryle’s termination from the Department. The Chief gave a very one-sided presentation of the facts in this case meant to embarrass and incriminate Daryle, despite the fact that the federal investigation is far form complete.
After seeing the Chief’s press conference, we immediately notified the local media that there was more to the story. With Daryle’s consent, we held a press briefing of our own. We responded to the allegations and gave the media a more complete picture of the ATF storefront operations in Savannah and an understandable explanation of why Daryle did what he did.
Our client was very appreciative that we were able to help him tell his side of the story. It helped him rebuild considerable support in the local community where he is well known and respected.
We will continue our efforts to help Daryl in this ongoing federal criminal investigation, and we look forward to helping him get back to work.