INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant Thursday was arrested and charged with official misconduct as part of an investigation that began in 2016.
Charles Butler, 55, on Thursday also submitted his intent to retire from IMPD, where he has worked since December 1986. He had been on administrative duty since July as IMPD detectives investigated the case.
Police allege Butler for more than a year was signing vehicle identification number inspection forms for wrecked or salvaged vehicles without inspecting them. Mid America Auto Sales, 1231 W. Troy Ave., was compensating Butler for each vehicle, police said.
Search warrants were first served in the case in July. Police had been investigating since October 2016.
"Officer Butler is accused of signing an affidavit required for salvaged vehicles at a used car dealership without personally examining the vehicles as required by Indiana law," said a statement from the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. "A law enforcement officer is required to inspect a vehicle when a salvage restoration title is requested. That law enforcement officer is then required to sign an affidavit certifying that he has inspected the vehicle.
"The below language is what the law enforcement officer affirms when signing the form:
“'I hereby certify that I am a law enforcement officer of the state of Indiana and I have personally examined the above vehicle, major component parts and ownership documents. The salvage restoration conforms to Indiana Code 9-22-3. I understand making a false statement may constitute the crime of perjury.'
"According to the probable cause affidavit, from March 2016 to May 2017, it is believed Butler falsely signed this affidavit for at least one vehicle at a used car dealership in the 1200 block of West Troy Ave. Butler allegedly received compensation from the business for this service," the prosecutor's office statement said."
Butler's attorney, John Kautzman, issued this statement:
"My client was admittedly wrong in failing to exercise sufficient due diligence while performing vehicle identification checks. However at no time was he alleged to have been knowingly engaged in a criminal enterprise. He has been cooperating with the authorities from the very start of their investigation and has accepted responsibility for his actions."
Butler's initial hearing on the felony charge was Thursday in Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division 24. A pretrial conference was set for July 3.