Off-Duty Cops Charged With Assault, False Imprisonment In Connection With Home Invasion.

Posted on January 20, 2013

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North Carolina (The Gaslamp Post) – Police arrested 6 individuals, 3 of whom were off-duty police officers early Friday morning in connection with an assault and 2 home invasions.  Officers say that the incident was over some alleged stolen property, and that all involved were acquainted with each other.

Off-duty officers Stacy Armstrong, 27, Erin Espinola, 31, and Watch Commander Lt. Ryan Freeman, 40, have been charged with one count of false imprisonment, assault, and misdemeanor breaking and entering.  Officer Stacy Armstrong is also charged with a second count of breaking and entering.

Off-duty officers arrested (from left to right): Officer Stacy Armstrong, Officer Erin Espinola, and Lt. Ryan Freeman.

Off-duty officers arrested (from left to right): Officer Stacy Armstrong, Officer Erin Espinola, and Lt. Ryan Freeman.

Police responding to a 911 call soon received a second call a short time later for a related incident another street down.

The group had reportedly forced their way into a residence shortly after 1:00 am Friday, looking for property that they claimed was stolen from them while at a club. Police say that they were looking for an iphone, a jacket, and a wallet containing police identification.

The resident reportedly fled from the home to a nearby neighbor for help.  According to the neighbor, now identified as Josh Buck, he knew something was wrong when he heard his neighbor beating frantically on his door at that time of night.

“I hear frantic knocking. It’s my neighbor. He comes holding his ribs and screaming, ‘Dude, call 911. Somebody is robbing me.’” Buck said. “So I called 911 and as soon as I pressed send to call, here comes one of the officers, I guess, coming at me.”

It was then that off-duty officer Armstrong entered Buck’s home, attempting to catch the fleeing resident.  She reportedly yelled at Buck, demanding to know where the missing wallet was and if the fleeing resident had stashed anything there.

Responding officers reportedly took all six into custody at the scene.

The Durham Police Department’s Investigative Division has filed the charges, and all three officers remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.  More charges may be filed depending on the the division’s findings.

“Although these three officers have been charged, I want to stress to the community that these actions are not indicative of our organization,” Durham Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. said in a statement released late Friday.

“We take all matters involving alleged officer misconduct very seriously. These allegations are being thoroughly investigated,” Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. said. “Although these three officers have been charged, I want to stress to the community that these actions are not indicative of our organization. Although all parties were acquaintances, we believe this was an isolated incident.”

Also charged in connection with the incident were Jessica Lobaugh, 30, Benjamin Brackett, 32, and Jennifer Norton, 30.  They were each charged with assault and misdemeanor breaking and entering.

All three officers were released on $4000 bond and are due back in court on February 19, 2013.  The other three charged were released on a promise to appear note, and are scheduled to go before a judge on February 14, 2013.

There has been no word as to whether or not any of the alleged missing items have been recovered.

Posted in: Cops Gone Wild