Pubdate: Sat, 26 Nov 2005
Source: Ashland City Times (TN)
Copyright: 2005 Ashland City Times
Author: Christian Bottorff, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


His Police Powers Were Stripped Months Before Drug Arrest

A campus police officer at Tennessee State University  who was
arrested this week had been in trouble twice in  the past nine months
and was stripped of his police  powers after making a threat in
September, university  records show.

According to university personnel records, officer  Tracy Lamont
Morgan, 38, who is charged with selling  cocaine, threatened in
September to "go postal" and  shoot someone when he got angry about
filling out  paperwork.

Morgan, of Rothwood Apartments in Madison, was placed  on leave
several days after making the statements,  according to public records
obtained from Tennessee  State University.

He was also involved in another incident in March with  another TSU
officer, although details of that incident  were not released.

The TSU personnel records provided to The Tennessean  were incomplete
and contained no details of either  incident.

But in response to continuing inquiries by the  newspaper about the
September incident, a university  spokeswoman found two additional
memos that were not  included in Morgan's personnel jacket that
offered a  glimpse into the reasons for his suspension.

She was unable this week to immediately locate records  detailing the
March incident. A TSU police lieutenant  who was provided with a memo
about the incident said  yesterday he could not recall the

A message left with TSU Police Chief Carlton Bowen at  his office was
not returned.

Officer Allen Tatum, who is named in university records  as somehow
being involved in the March incident with  Morgan, declined to comment
last night.

"I'm not at liberty to go through that," Tatum said  when reached by
telephone at TSU police headquarters.

In a written statement to supervisors about the  September incident,
Morgan appeared to defend his  statement about going "postal" by
saying he only  jokingly mentioned to another officer he was concerned
  about paperwork he filled out reflecting that campus  buildings are

Morgan told another officer that "there (are) always  people hiding in
a building and you can't put down the  building is secured if someone
is in the building,"  Morgan's statement says.

"And in a joking way, I said if they keep trying to  change stuff,
someone is going to go postal or shoot  someone and walked off,"
Morgan's statement says.

TSU police officials placed Morgan on administrative  leave Sept. 22.
His gun and badge were confiscated, and  TSU Assistant Chief Sylvia
Russell ordered Morgan to  see a doctor for a "medical

TSU officials took Morgan's statement seriously,  according to
university records. "You were advised by  me, due to the fact you are
an armed police officer - threats made about shooting someone are to
be taken  seriously," reads a statement from Morgan's supervisor,  Lt.
Phillip Beene.

Before working at TSU, Morgan had an extensive history  in the U.S.
Navy. From 1987-1996, he worked security  aboard the USS Constellation
in San Diego and the USS  Yellowstone in Norfolk, Va., and as a base
police  officer in Kingsville, Texas.

In 1995, he briefly worked on "shipboard security  engagement tactics"
for the Office of the Chief of  Naval Operations Criminal
Investigative Service,  according to his resume on file with TSU.

He also has served in the U.S. Naval Reserve in  Nashville and is a
Whites Creek High graduate, his  resume states.

His recent trouble with Metro police came during an  undercover

Morgan was booked on three counts of selling cocaine,  misdemeanor
marijuana possession, possession of drug  paraphernalia and driving on
a suspended license. He is  free on $27,000 bail and is scheduled to
attend court  in January.

Metro police said two of the cocaine sales to  undercover officers
happened Nov. 10 and Nov. 15 on the  streets of the Bordeaux area. A
third sale was Nov. 16  at Morgan's Madison apartment, police said.

The investigation began after a citizen's tip. Police  said there is
no evidence that the campus officer was  selling drugs on or near the
TSU campus.

Officers executed a search warrant at Morgan's  apartment Monday night
and found paraphernalia,  including a hydraulic press, electronic
scales and  plastic bags, police said. The press tested positive  for
cocaine residue, and there also was a small amount  of marijuana,
police said. 
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