A fired Fort Worth police officer faces two years in jail if he is convicted of stealing four pairs of athletic shoes and a video game from a suspected drug dealer.
Antoine Jevon Williams, 38, a former Fort Worth police sergeant, could also be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine if he is found guilty.
Williams was indicted on March 28 on a charge of theft between $500 and $1,500. Penalties for the charge are enhanced to a state-jail felony because Williams was a public servant at the time.
Tarrant County prosecutors Tim Bednarz and Rebecca McIntire contend that Williams took the sneakers, which ranged in value from $100 to $260, and a Grand Theft Auto 5 video game during the execution of a search warrant at a suspected drug dealer’s residence on Oct. 16, 2013.
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“I just thought that it wasn’t right,” said Lorenzo Edwards, a Fort Worth narcotics officer who testified for the prosecution. “He put his team in danger. I just felt bad because it was a wrong situation. Someone I trusted was stealing.”
Edwards complained to two police supervisors about what happened, he testified Tuesday.
Edwards said he first called one of his previous supervisors in the vice unit and presented a hypothetical situation about a possible crime that could cost someone his job.
That former supervisor asked him if he felt comfortable telling Williams about it, and Edwards said, “No.” So the supervisor suggested that Edwards call his lieutenant, Vance Keyes.
Edwards told Keyes that Williams took the shoes and the video game without signing in the items with the evidence custodian, a violation of police policy.
Edwards testified that Williams said the shoes did not fit him, but that he would stuff the toes with socks so that he could wear them. Edwards said he believed Williams was joking about stuffing the shoes with socks.
“When we’re on scenes, officers say all kinds of crazy things that civilians wouldn’t understand,” Edwards said. “But I never thought anyone would take anything.”
Terri Moore and Michael Ware, Williams’ attorneys, said investigators jumped the gun when they accused Williams of stealing. Williams had permission from Keyes to take the items, and Edwards never heard that conversation, Moore said.
Keyes testified that he indeed gave Williams permission to take the items. Williams said the athletic shoes could be used by undercover officers in their work, Keyes said.
“What I said was, ‘Hell, yeah, take all of that,’ ” Keyes testified. “That’s what we do in narcotics. We take things from drug dealers.”
But Williams was not supposed to take the shoes and the game before signing the items into inventory, Keyes said. Williams should have known that you never take evidence home with you, Keyes said.
When initially told about the theft complaint against Williams, Keyes said, “I didn’t believe it.”
“When I told my captain, he didn‘t believe it,” Keyes testified.
Testimony is expected to continue Thursday in state District Judge Mollee Westfall’s court.