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Former Petersburg Officer says he was fired for questioning illegal police activity

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

New allegations against Petersburg police were outlined in court documents Wednesday.

Former Petersburg police officer Derrik Greer says the department fired him in order to tarnish his reputation, all because he questioned the actions of his fellow officers during a now controversial drug raid.

Greer, who is a former marine that served in Afghanistan, worked for the Virginia State Police before joining the Petersburg Police Department. He quickly became a detective, but says he was demoted and then fired for telling the truth about illegal police activity.

In police work, there's a code. The thin blue line is an emblem of a brotherhood. “I never hid behind that thin blue line. I never allowed corruption to be taken toward my way. I’ve personally took it upon my responsibility to not only police my community, but also police the ranks within the police department.” 

Greer says he couldn't hide behind that blue line after witnessing activity on several occasions that he says tarnished the badge.

“When you open your mouth and speak the truth, then you're getting penalized, being punished,” Greer adds. He says the last straw was the search of a home on Rome Street.

Several months after cell phone video of police making arrests outside the home went viral, Petersburg detectives went back to the house. They executed a search warrant based off a confidential informant who says they saw drug deals go down and guns in the home. 

“By the time police were done, the house had to be ‘red-tagged,'” Greer says, which means it was deemed uninhabitable. The house was still boarded up 10 months after the search, and there was a sign out front calling it unfit.

“When the house had to be red-tagged, I knew exactly that something wasn't right,” Greer says. He adds that he's been involved in numerous search warrants and had never seen this happen before. “It was over the top. It was excessive.”

He would not go into detail about what was done to the inside of the home. However, in just-released court documents, he told defense attorneys that officers used a battering ram to break down the door without any warning. He told them that all the windows were broken, and electronic equipment was destroyed.

Several people were arrested that day, but only the case against Jeffrey Fisher made it to court. 

Fisher's attorneys have made allegations of police corruption, leading to a special judge and prosecutor for the case. Their star witness is now former officer Derrik Greer.

After he and the chief of police were subpoenaed for a hearing, Greer says he was demoted from detective and put on administrative reassignment. “I feel that whatever came out in the case that day they needed a scapegoat," Greer says.  

A few weeks later in November he was fired. According to his termination papers, during an interview for an internal affairs investigation he said he "passed a few pieces of candy on the floor" during the search of the Fisher house and asked another officer, "Did he think I would get in trouble if I ate a piece of candy?" The office said no, so he ate it because he was starving and the search was taking hours.

The department called it an admission of moral turpitude: theft. “No, I don't think that's why they fired me,” Greer says. “What I think is going on is you have a lot of corruption within this department. The corruptions is so thick,” he adds.

Greer wouldn't reveal everything he allegedly saw that he believes crossed the line in police work.

However, he says he believes there are some court cases in Petersburg that need to be thrown out. “I know I'm a good cop because I believe in the oath. I was honored to be a police officer and serve the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Greer wants to continue in law enforcement and is looking for a job. He says he only wants to clear his name and doesn't have ill feelings towards the entire department because there are some great officers who work there.\

We asked to interview the Petersburg police chief and provided the department with a list of Greer's allegations so it could respond. In an email, a spokesperson would only say “The questions you posed are part of an ongoing investigation.”

In a defense motion to withdraw a guilty plea for Jeffrey Fisher, we learned about more allegations from Greer. That document was filed in court Wednesday afternoon. In it, he told a defense team investigator that he searched one of the suspects and found approximately $400 to $500 in cash on him. He says that money is now missing and part of the $13,000 that recently went missing from the police department property room.

Petersburg police has claimed the missing money is a clerical error. He also says he was told one of the officers used approximately six confidential informants on a regular basis, but that detective only had two informants “on the books” at the time.

A hearing in the case on the motion is scheduled for next week.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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