By Holbrook Mohr
JACKSON, Miss. — A former Mississippi police chief already charged with demanding money or property in exchange for dropping criminal charges against people has been indicted on nine new federal counts.
The new indictment against ex-Mendenhall Police Chief Donald "Bruce" Barlow says he sometimes made people sign over their vehicles in exchange for him dropping charges and also demanded cash payments, in one case $4,500.
Barlow was first indicted Feb. 5 on eight counts including conspiracy, extortion, soliciting bribes and witness tampering. He pleaded not guilty March 8. The new indictment on Tuesday added nine additional counts.
Barlow was arrested in March. He has been free on $10,000 bond.
Barlow's attorney, federal public defender Mike Scott, said in an email Friday that he and his client "look forward to our day in court."
The indictments say Barlow instructed "his officers to seize cash at every arrest, including money from people arrested for misdemeanors."
Sometimes people were lured into the city so they could be arrested, the indictment said.
Mendenhall is a small town of about 2,500 residents, 25 miles south of Jackson.
In one case in January 2010, Barlow made someone sign over his car and pay between $1,500 and $2,000 for the charges to be dropped "like none of this ever happened," the indictment said.
Barlow gave the car to one of his officers to use as a personal vehicle and told the officer to use a department fuel card for gas purchases for the car, the indictment said.
Barlow demanded money "purporting to be contributions to the police department's `drug fund.'" If the payment was in cash, the money rarely made it to the drug fund, court records said.
Court records said the scheme went on from March to July 2010.
After learning of the investigation that July, Barlow tried to create and back-date an inventory list of the property he had taken and took money purported to be for the drug fund to Mendenhall City Hall for deposit, the indictment said.
In addition to the criminal case, Barlow is facing a federal civil lawsuit filed in 2012 by a man who says he was falsely detained for a week and forced to sign over nearly $7,000 in cash and property in exchange for his release. The lawsuit alleges that the man was held in jail for seven days without being formally charged and without a phone call.
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Copyright 2013 Associated Press