Just call him “Big Dog.”
That’s allegedly how Highland Park police officer Price Montgomery prefers to be addressed, at least when he’s soliciting $10,000 bribes, or trafficking drugs while wearing his firearm and police badge.
At a press conference Friday morning, the FBI broke the news that it’s arrested four Highland Park police officers, including Montgomery.
They’re in custody and being charged with armed drug trafficking and taking bribes. If convicted, they could face up to 55 years in prison.
Here are the quick and dirty facts, but given that the full complaint reads like something out of LA Confidential, you’ll want to stick around for the juicy details.
- Two officers, Anthony Bynum and Price Montgomery, allegedly took at $10,000 bribe from a man they’d arrested on a firearms charge. In exchange, they did a “no show” – in other words, failed to appear at his court hearing, causing the judge to dismiss all charges.
- Bynum and Montgomery also allegedly delivered what they believed to be cocaine (but was actually just white powder) to an FBI informant posing as a drug dealer.
- Finally, Bynum and Montgomery recruited two additional Highland Park police officers, Shawn Williams and Craig Clayton, to help them in a second (also sham) drug delivery.
The full criminal complaint is about 25 pages long, but here’s a summary of some particularly strange details – just keep in mind, of course, that none of these charges have been proven in court.
Officers Anthony Bynum, age 28, and Price Montogmery, 38, are close buds. Extremely close. In fact, they live together in the Highland Manor Apartments on Sears Street.
And for months, Chief Coney thought something seemed sketchy about those two. Citizens had filed complaints about Bynum and Montgomery getting rough with suspects, even stealing cash (or in one case, Dolce & Gabbana cologne) from cars they’d pulled over and people they’d arrested.
In August, they apparently put a suspect in the hospital with head injuries. The suspect, referred to in the complaint as CS2 (Confidential Source #2), was arrested for a firearms charge. CS2 says he made a move to run from the two officers, who then threw him to the ground and repeatedly punched in the head.
While recuperating in the hospital, Officer Montgomery apparently dropped by to have a little chat with CS2. During that visit, CS2 apparently told the officer that “he could throw him and Bynum a few dollars if they would help him (CS2) out with the criminal charges against him,” according to the complaint.
After CS2 was out on bail, he met up with Officer Montgomery. Montgomery put his contact information into CS2’s cell phone and asked to be referred to as “Big Dog.”
They texted back and forth about how the bribe would proceed- would Montgomery and Bynum be able to dispose of the gun they took off CS2 in his arrest? It was now stored in police evidence, so that would be tricky. Ultimately, they agreed to take $10,000 in order be a “no show” at CS2’s hearing. The judge dropped the charges against CS2 because the officers failed to appear as witnesses.
Around this time, CS2 began working as an informant for the FBI. Investigators allegedly recorded video of the cash hand-off from CS2 to Montgomery and Bynum.
According to the complaint, this is when the two officers offered to “assist…CS2 in his drug trafficking operations.” With the FBI watching and recording, the officers “protected and delivered” what they believed to be cocaine, but was actually a sham substance. They met CS2 at the parking lot of a Chili’s Restaurant at the Oakland Mall on November 15th, at 11:25 am.
FBI surveillance followed them to Taylor, Michigan, where the officers dropped off the shipment to two guys pretending to be drug dealers. For this effort, each police officer was paid $1,500.
CS2 asked the officers if they knew of any other police officers who might be able to get involved with protecting drug shipments. That’s when the FBI alleges that Montgomery and Bynum recruited two additional Highland Park police officers: Shawn Williams, 33, and Craig Clayton, 55.
This time, they met up at a McDonald’s parking lot. Again under FBI surveillance, the officers transported two kilograms of sham cocaine to a Meijer’s parking lot in Taylor.
The four officers were then each paid between $1,000 and $1,500 by men posing as drug dealers. They were armed and carrying their badges during this operation, according to the complaint.
Before the operation wrapped up, Officer Bynum asked CS2 how he could get more involved in CS2’s criminal operations. “What you charge to lay an [expletive] down?” CS2 asked him, according to the complaint. Bynum said he would be willing to do a contract kill for $20,000.
These charges are all laid out in the criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Eastern Michigan.