Special prosecutor to look at criminal charges in South Bend police wiretapping case


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SOUTH BEND, Indiana — A special prosecutor will look into whether criminal charges should be filed in the case of wiretapping within the South Bend Police Department.

A criminal complaint citing the Indiana Wiretap Act was filed by a police officer who was among several officers who had phone conversations recorded. A department spokesman says the complaint was referred to Indiana State Police to avoid a conflict of interest.

The South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/1PYCfT1 ) reports a St. Joseph County judge appointed Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stanley M. Levco to take the case.

The complaint was filed shortly after a federal judge ruled in January that the department violated the law by continuing the recordings after learning in early 2011 that a captain's phone line was inadvertently taped. But the judge said recordings from on or before Feb. 4, 2011, weren't illegal because no one meant to record the line.

Court documents say the line had been recorded when the captain moved into the office of a division chief who wanted his own line recorded. According to documents, former Police Chief Darryl Boykins continued to have the line recorded after the department's communications director told him about "disturbing conversations" that were recorded.

Boykins was demoted by Mayor Pete Buttigieg in 2012, and the communications director was fired.

South Bend has spent more than $1.6 million on attorney fees and settlements. The city's Common Council is in pursuit of subpoenas to force the release of some tapes.

Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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