Thursday, October 9, 2014


Dispatch audio reveals Officer Denny asked about warrants on Stockett minutes before traffic stop

A Sandusky police officer appears to have known exactly who he was pulling over last week during a controversial traffic stop many have alleged was unlawful.

Officer Christopher Denny stopped a vehicle around 7 p.m. Oct. 1 in which Andre Stockett, 34, was a passenger. Stockett and girlfriend Kathryn Said, 30, who was the driver, were subsequently charged with obstruction.

Stockett contends he was being harassed, as Denny listed numerous reasons why the vehicle was stopped, and later, why the pair needed to exit.

Up until Wednesday, city officials argued the traffic stop wasn't perfect, but nonetheless in accordance with Ohio law.

Denny believed Stockett was Jeremy Newell, a man wanted on felony warrants, police said, thus justifying why Stockett had to identify himself.

However, while conducting an internal investigation, Sandusky police Chief John Orzech reviewed radio traffic between Denny and dispatchers that appears to reveal Denny clearly knew Stockett was not the wanted man.

In dispatchers' radio traffic, obtained by the Register through a public records request, Denny can be heard asking if “Andre Stockett” had any outstanding warrants just three or four minutes before he stopped Said's car.

“Any papers on Andre Stockett?” Denny is heard saying.

Listen to the audio in the player below

“Negative through our department. He has (warrants) through Morrow County, outside the pick-up radius,” the dispatcher responds, alluding to the fact Stockett had no local warrants, nor any that Sandusky police would be able to arrest him on.

During the traffic stop a few minutes later, Denny told Stockett he matched Newell's exact description, and even addressed Stockett as “Mr. Newell.”

Since video of the traffic stop went viral last week, Stockett has argued Denny knew his identity all along. He said that Denny saw him standing outside an apartment building well before Denny pulled over Said's vehicle and questioned why the officer didn't stop him then, rather than waiting to find a reason to later pull them over.

Denny was placed on paid leave Wednesday after Orzech reviewed the audio recordings.

“As soon as I reviewed the dispatch traffic, I notified the city manager, and then we made the determination we were going to put (Denny) on administrative leave,” Orzech said.
The investigation into Denny's actions that was originally going to be conducted by Sandusky police has now been sent to the Lucas County Sheriff's Office for an independent review.

According to Orzech, the Lucas County office has an internal investigative unit dedicated to these types of investigations.

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