Tulsa police officer in court on traffic-stop-linked robbery counts
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2012
10/13/12 at 8:07 AM
Testimony began Friday at a preliminary hearing for a Tulsa police officer who is charged with stealing money from Hispanic drivers he had stopped.
A prosecutor called 10 witnesses to the stand during a hearing for Marvin Blades Jr. Some witnesses testified with the assistance of an English-Spanish court translator.
Blades, 37, is charged with five counts of second-degree robbery.
One count involves an accusation that he stole money during a traffic stop in which the victim was an undercover law enforcement officer involved in this investigation, testimony indicated.
Police reported that the alleged robberies involved accusations that the defendant would pull over drivers on traffic stops outside his assigned patrol beat, would order them to hand over their wallets, and then would take money from the wallets before returning them.
An arrest report says he was arrested Aug. 25 as part of a sting operation during which he pulled over an undercover Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control agent and stole $600 in documented bills that were later found on Blades.
Defense attorney James Linger contends that evidence does not support robbery charges.
First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond will call one or more witnesses to testify when the hearing resumes before Tulsa County Special Judge Deborrah Ludi Leitch on Oct. 22.
Blades remains in the Tulsa Jail, with bail set at $100,000 on each of the five second-degree robbery counts filed by prosecutors Aug. 31, a jail website shows.
During Friday's hearing, Ludi Leitch denied a request for a bail reduction.
Before the charges were filed, he had posted a $25,000 bond to cover a single robbery complaint and was released from jail. He was rearrested after the charges were filed.
Blades has been a Tulsa police officer since 2001, according to Linger. He was suspended with pay after his initial arrest and subsequently was placed on administrative leave without pay, police said.
In a court document filed in the case, Drummond wrote that "few crimes are as egregious as an on-duty officer - who took an oath to uphold the law - to engage in an abuse of police power for his personal gain."
Original Print Headline: 10 testify at hearing for officer on robbery counts
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Suspended Tulsa Police Officer Marvin Blades Jr. looks down as he is led to a Tulsa County courtroom Friday for his preliminary hearing on charges alleging that he robbed Hispanic drivers during traffic stops. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World