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Durham fake 911 calls: Durham puts halt to cop lies about 911 calls

Durham fake 911 calls:  Why cops lied about 911 calls:  They were obtaining seaches
Durham fake 911 calls: Why cops lied about 911 calls: They were obtaining seachesPhoto by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

In an update on the story of the Durham fake 911 calls Indy Week is obtained and posted the memo in which the city's police chief halted the practice of police falsely claiming a 911 call had been made from a home in order to search it.

The Chief wrote ""It has recently been brought to my attention that some officers have informed citizens that there has been a 911 hang-up call from their residence in order to obtain consent to enter for the actual purpose of looking for wanted persons on outstanding warrants," said the memo. "Effective immediately no officer will inform a citizen that there has been any call to the emergency communications center, including a hang-up call, when there in fact has been no such call."

The Durham officers targeted homes where they believed suspects with outstanding warrants were believed to be living. The officers told the residents that they needed to look inside their homes because 911 calls had been made from inside the home.

But Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez told reporters that the 911 tactic was never a part of official policy. Lopez banned the practice last month.

The tactic of using fake 911 calls was revealed during a court hearing two months ago when an officer testified that it was part of an official department policy. The case involved an individual charged with marijuana possession.

In that case, the officer knocked on the defendant’s door with the phony story that someone made a 911 call and hung up and asked to search the home to make sure everyone was OK. The defendant allowed the search and the police discovered two marijuana plants in the home.

The following are quotes from cross examination between the defense and the officer who use the fake 911 tactic:

Did you say there was a 911 hang-up? the defense attorney asked.

Yes, the officer responded.

But there was not a 911 hang-up?

No.

So you entered the house based on a lie?

Yes.

And this is your policy for domestic violence warrants?

Yes.

A judge agreed with the defense that the evidence could not be permitted because it was obtained illegally.

"You cannot enter someone's house based on a lie," the defense attorney argued from the bench during the hearing.

The district attorney dropped the case since there was no evidence.

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