The events described here are allegations, which may or may not be factually accurate. We do not know if this complaint has been investigated yet.
 

Misconduct Incident Report for Raleigh Police Department

Complaint #18: Received by Investigative Agency
Submitted to OpenPolice.org
June 2018
Submitted to Investigative Agency
July 2018
No Response from Investigative Agency
pending
Received by Investigative Agency
July 2018
Investigated by Investigative Agency
pending
Investigative Agency Report Uploaded
pending
Indicent Date March 2012
Indicent Location Haverty Dr., Raleigh, NC 27610
Publishing Settings Publish Complainant's Name, Publish Officer Names, Publish Incident Address

Allegations

Including comments from the complainant
Wrongful Search
Because the search warrant's probable cause section is based on 2 lies.
Policy or Procedure Violation
Is it proper policy or procedure to lie to obtain search warrant?
 

Story

I am writing to initiate a formal complaint against Raleigh officer T.R. Varnadoe related to his deliberately false statements, which were made to a magistrate for the purpose of securing a warrant to search my home. The incident in question took place in 2012, and I filed a complaint at the time without the benefit of the evidence I now possess. On December 21, 2017, after years of back-and-forth with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney finally acknowledged that Officer Varnadoe had lied to a judge in my case, and as a result, he dismissed all charges against me relating to the incident in question.

Officer Varnadoe, in seeking a search warrant against me, made two false statements under oath to the magistrate in my case. These statements led to an illegal search being conducted on my home and to my subsequent arrest. Although these statements were made in 2012, the evidence of their falsity did not come to light — or at least went unacknowledged by prosecutors — until late last year. Because of the serious nature of a police officer lying under oath to a judge, I am renewing my 2012 complaint and asking that Raleigh PD hold Officer Varnadoe accountable.

The specific false, sworn statements are:

• “The driver and passenger had a history of drug convictions ...”

• “Following the traffic stop a bag containing crack cocaine and a bindle of heroine was recovered in the area where the vehicle was stopped.”

The first statement was false, and a criminal records history check on myself and my passenger in the traffic stop

...

I am writing to initiate a formal complaint against Raleigh officer T.R. Varnadoe related to his deliberately false statements, which were made to a magistrate for the purpose of securing a warrant to search my home. The incident in question took place in 2012, and I filed a complaint at the time without the benefit of the evidence I now possess. On December 21, 2017, after years of back-and-forth with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney finally acknowledged that Officer Varnadoe had lied to a judge in my case, and as a result, he dismissed all charges against me relating to the incident in question.

Officer Varnadoe, in seeking a search warrant against me, made two false statements under oath to the magistrate in my case. These statements led to an illegal search being conducted on my home and to my subsequent arrest. Although these statements were made in 2012, the evidence of their falsity did not come to light — or at least went unacknowledged by prosecutors — until late last year. Because of the serious nature of a police officer lying under oath to a judge, I am renewing my 2012 complaint and asking that Raleigh PD hold Officer Varnadoe accountable.

The specific false, sworn statements are:

• “The driver and passenger had a history of drug convictions ...”

• “Following the traffic stop a bag containing crack cocaine and a bindle of heroine was recovered in the area where the vehicle was stopped.”

The first statement was false, and a criminal records history check on myself and my passenger in the traffic stop in question will make clear that I did not have a “history of drug convictions” (plural) — I had a single prior conviction — and that my passenger, Stephon Levonta Huggins, had no prior drug conviction of any kind.

The second statement is more egregious, because it implies a connection between my traffic stop with Officer Varnadoe and his purported finding of “a bindle of heroine ... in the area where the vehicle was stopped.” In fact, as the D.A. recently acknowledged, the “area” where Officer Vanadoe found the heroine (Chasteal Trail) is approximately half a mile from the location of my traffic stop (Berkeley Lake) and the drugs were not even recovered from that location on the same day that I was stopped. The wording of Officer Varnadoe’s search warrant application clearly attempts to paint a very different picture.

I have endured a great deal of personal hardship because of Officer Varnadoe’s decision to lie about the circumstances of the traffic stop he initiated with me in 2012. It took six years until the truth of the matter finally came to light. I am asking that the Raleigh Police Department not excuse Officer Varnadoe’s misconduct, even though a significant amount of time has passed. There must be consequences for police officers who lie under oath.

Uploads

Katryna Lawson (Victim #1)

Creator of this complaint? Yes
Race Black/African/Caribbean
Gender Female
Recorded this Incident?
"Did this witness record the incident with audio or video?"
No
Chased by police?
"At any point, were you chased by the police?"
No

Victim #2

Race Black/African/Caribbean
Age Range 0-15
Gender Female
Height
"Height Estimate"
5' 2"
Body Type Slim/Slender
Resident of jurisdiction?
"At the time, did this victim live in this police department's jurisdiction?"
Yes
Recorded this Incident?
"Did this witness record the incident with audio or video?"
No
Chased by police?
"At any point, was my daughter (Victim #2) chased by the police?"
No

Thomas Varnadoe (Officer #1)

Department Name Raleigh Police Department
Officer's Role in this Incident
"What was this officer's role in the incident?"
Subject Officer
Duty Status During Incident
"At the time, this officer was ..."
On-Duty
Wearing uniform?
"Was this officer wearing a uniform?"
Yes
Age Range 25-34
Race White/Caucasian
Gender Male
Height
"Height Estimate"
5' 10"
Body Type Medium/Average
Wearing body camera?
"Was this officer wearing a body camera?"
No

Johnson (Officer #2)

Department Name Raleigh Police Department
Officer's Role in this Incident
"What was this officer's role in the incident?"
Subject Officer
Duty Status During Incident
"At the time, this officer was ..."
On-Duty
Wearing uniform?
"Was this officer wearing a uniform?"
Yes
Age Range 35-44
Race White/Caucasian
Gender Male
Height
"Height Estimate"
5' 11"
Body Type Large/Fat
Wearing body camera?
"Was this officer wearing a body camera?"
No

What Happened

Scene Type
"Where did this incident begin?"
Home or private residence (includes just outside the residence)
Incident began with forcible entry?
"Did this incident begin with a forcible entry or SWAT raid?"
Yes
Incident began with vehicle stop?
"Did this incident begin with a vehicle stop? (This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and boats.)"
No
Incident began with traffic accident?
"Did this incident begin with a traffic accident?"
No
Closed circuit cameras on scene?
"Were there any video surveillance cameras at the scene?"
Not sure
Officer stop, detain, or questioned someone?
"Did an officer stop, question, or detain anybody during this incident? This is when officers pull over a vehicle, or keep anyone from leaving."
Yes
Think stop or detention wrongful?
"Do you think anybody was wrongfully stopped or detained?"
No
Anyone ask for officer's ID?
"Did anybody ask for an officer's ID?"
No
Officer searched someone or something?
"Did an officer conduct any searches during this incident? (This includes all types of searches of people, vehicles, homes, or other property.)"
Yes
Think search was wrongful?
"Do you think anybody was wrongfully searched?"
Yes
Property seized or damaged?
"Was any property seized or damaged? (This does not include illegal items.)"
Yes
Think property damage wrongful?
"Do you think this property was wrongfully damaged?"
Not sure
Officer used physical force?
"Did an officer use physical force on anybody during this incident? This includes any use of violent contact up to and including deadly force by an officer."
Yes
Think physical force unreasonable?
"Do you think the use of physical force was unreasonable?"
Not sure
Officer arrested someone?
"Did an officer arrest anybody during this incident? That means the officers took somebody to the police station."
Yes
Officer give ticket or citation?
"Did anybody who was not arrested get a ticket or citation?"
No
Think officer neglected duty?
"Do you think an officer neglected their duty by failing to take appropriate action? These are things an officer should have done but didn't do."
Not sure
Think officer violated policy or procedure?
"Do you think an officer took actions that violate a policy or procedure? Leave blank if you described this in an earlier allegation."
Yes
Think officer wrongfully intimidated w/ weapon display?
"Police are legally allowed to display a weapon if they feel threatened. But it's wrongful for police to use a weapon to intimidate people who aren't a threat.

Do you think an officer displayed a weapon — or a police dog — to wrongfully intimidate anybody? (This does not include any violent use of force. Answers in red are allegations.)"
Not sure
Think officer actions were biased?
"Do you think an officer acted in a biased or discriminatory manner?

That means an officer's conduct was based on a person's race, gender, appearance, nationality, religion, age, class, sexual orientation, residence, disability, etc."
Not sure
Think arrest charges were retaliation?
"Do you think the arrest charges filed against anybody were a form of retaliation?"
Not sure
Think officer was discourteous?
"Was an officer discourteous in ways not included in other allegations?

This includes the use of profanity, offensive language, loss of temper, verbal threats, impatience, or any rude behavior."
Not sure
Civilian used profanity? Katryna Lawson (Victim #1)
Any officers injured?
"Were any officers injured during this incident?"
No

Stop / Detention

Officer gave reason for stop
"Did an officer give a reason for the stop?"
Other Reason
Officer requested ID?
"Did an officer ask for anybody's ID?"
No
Subject asked for officer's ID? No
Officer gave alcohol breath test?
"Did an officer give anybody an alcohol breath test?"
No
Officer gave marijuana breath test?
"Did an officer give anybody a marijuana breath test?"
No
Officer collected saliva?
"Did an officer collect anybody's saliva?"
No
Officer gave other sobriety tests?
"Did an officer give anybody any other sobriety tests?"
No
Subject frisked?
"Was anybody frisked during this stop?"
Yes
Subject handcuffed?
"Was anybody handcuffed during this stop?"
Yes
Officer entered private property?
"Did an officer enter a private home or workplace?"
Yes
Officer request permission to enter?
"Did an officer request permission to enter?"
Yes
Subject gave officer permission to enter?
"Did anybody grant permission for an officer to enter?"
No

Search & Property

Did officer state reason for search?
"Did an officer give a reason for searching anybody?"
Yes
Officer have warrant?
"Did an officer have a search warrant?"
Yes
Officer request permission to search?
"Did an officer request permission to search anything?"
No
Did subject consent to search?
"Did anybody consent to the search?"
No
Officer make threats or lie to get consent to search?
"Did an officer make threats or lie to get permission to search?"
No
Officer use K9 (dog) sniff?
"Was a K9 (dog) used during this search?"
No
Officer strip searched someone?
"Was anybody strip searched during this incident? This is a search for concealed items that removes some or all clothing to reveal intimate areas of the body. Please do not include searches that occurred at the police station."
No
Officer discover contraband?
"Were any illegal items discovered in this search?"
No
Officer damaged property?
"Was anybody's property damaged?"
Yes

Arrests

Did officer state a reason for arrest?
"Did an officer say why they made the arrest(s)?"
No
Strip search done at station?
"Was anybody strip searched at the police station? This is a search for concealed items that removes some or all clothing to reveal intimate areas of the body."
No
Were any charges filed?
"Were any charges filed against anybody for this incident?"
Yes
Were all charges dropped before released?
"Were ALL the charges dropped before everybody was released?"
No

Use of Force

Glossary of Terms

Gold-Level Complaint
This user opted to share more complete details about their police experience than a Basic Complaint.
Wrongful Search
Allegation: Police conducted a search without a warrant, probable cause, or consent.
Policy or Procedure Violation
Allegation: An officer took actions which did not follow appropriate policy, procedure, or guidelines.