Internal Drexel investigation leads to termination and District Attorney’s Office charges
PHILADELPHIA (July 13, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams announced that Che Brown, a former Drexel University Police Officer, turned himself in today and was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (M1), Receiving Stolen Property (M1), Obstructing Administration of Law (M2) and Official Oppression (M2).
“What former Officer Che Brown did was wrong – stealing is stealing no matter if it is $5, $50 or $500 –and he will now have his day in court,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “My Office is grateful for the assistance and support of Drexel University and their police force, and, as I have said before, my Office will continue to review the evidence in each case and if warranted charge and prosecute anyone, no matter their position or influence, who breaks the law.”
Upon learning that Brown had allegedly tampered with evidence collected from a scene while responding to an incident, Drexel immediately began an internal investigation. The investigation confirmed Brown had violated police procedures, and, as a result, Brown was terminated on February 2, 2015. The case was then immediately turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution per Drexel’s procedures.
On the morning of Wednesday, January 14, 2015, Drexel Police were dispatched to a residence hall on the University’s campus because a student was reported to possess marijuana. A search of the room with University staff found a bag of marijuana, cigarette rolling papers, knifes, bags of white powder and $500. The cash was stored in a pill box. The confiscated items were inventoried and given to Brown to enter into evidence. Later that day, Brown prepared the required incident report and property receipt, but did not record the two confiscated knives or the $500. He also never put them into evidence. Because the money had been a gift from his grandmother, the student knew the exact denominations of the missing currency. When the student went to retrieve his property, the money and the knives were missing. When asked by his supervisor about the missing items, Officer Brown said, “My bad, this is all on me.”
Brown’s supervisors searched the evidence room and found two knives and an ibuprofen box that contained $500. However, the denominations and their amounts did not match what was confiscated from the residence hall when the student was re-interviewed about the missing property.
An internal Drexel investigation, which included video evidence of the police evidence room, showed Brown depositing an item that appeared to be the ibuprofen box back into storage on January 22, 2015. After denying having touched the money or entering the evidence room since January 14, Brown was shown the video of him entering the room on January 22, 2015 and placing the box with the money in the drawer. In response, he stated that he forgot to put the money box into evidence and when asked about the denomination change he stated, “I have no idea.”
Brown, DOB 7/6/1979, resides in Upper Darby and was terminated by Drexel University because of the theft. He was hired by the University in January 2013. His next appearance in court has yet to be scheduled.