A city police officer is charged with racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking.
We'll examine the case against Officer Frederick Pledge.
Tonight on News 7 sports, Hollins University basketball camp opens its arms to some area girls with the help of the All-stars clinics.
The Carolina Hurricanes add a key member.
And our Redskins' training camp reports continue tonight as we visit with former Hokies Tyronne Drakeford.
Heavy rains in Roanoke and Botetourt but most streams and rivers are below flood stage. The cool drizzly weather continues.
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Federal authorities have identified a rogue officer within the Roanoke Police Department.
For the better part of his seven years on the force, Officer Frederick Pledge is alleged to have been working both sides of the street.
A regular patrolman on the evening watch in the North sector of the city, Pledge joined the force in September, 1993.
The feds alleged he's been shaking down drug dealers since 1995, ripping them off, even engaging in the drug trade himself.
Pledge appeared visibly shaken as he read the indictment in court today... a document that says Pledge and other officers recruited a courier to transport 10-thousand dollars worth of drugs to New York City.
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[IN Q=It's obvious from]
((IT'S OBVIOUS FROM READING THE INDICTMENT, THE INVESTIGATION IS CONTINUING. I WOULD HASTEN TO ADD THERE ARE VERY FEW PEOPLE WE'RE LOOKING AT. IT'S NOT A VERY WIDESPREAD PROBLEM AT ALL.))
[SUPER=01-Tom Bondurant/Assistant U.S. Attorney]
[OUT Q=problem at all.]
According to the government, Pledge did everything he could to get in good with drug dealers:
[#77]providing security for drug parties and for large shipments of cocaine.
[#81] But then the indictment indicates he turned around and ripped them off, extorting bribes and
[#75]seizing shipments of drugs- -evidence that was never turned in or reported to the department.
Pledge remains in custody tonight, but he also remains a member of the force.
City Police say they will "closely monitor the case." If disciplinary action is warranted, that'll come later.
Pledge spent a lot of time working in various communities including one Roanoke neighborhood struggling to clean up its reputation.
[Double Boxes=Keith/Teresa Microwave]
Teresa Hamilton is at the police department with the story of one man who says he thought Pledge was working against crime not promoting it.
Keith, the Roanoke police department issued a statement saying it has an excellent reputation for honesty and integrity.
But the vice president of the local SCLC says he feels betrayed by Pledge who he thought mirrored those standards.
[IN Q=I would]
[SUPER=01-Jeff Artis/Roanoke SCLC;]
[SUPER=01-Ralph Smith/Roanoke Mayor;]
[OUT Q=good things for the valley.]
[In q= I would]
((I WOULD LOVE TO GET HIM IN A ROOM FOR ABOUT 20- MINUTES BUT SINCE I PRACTICE NONVIOLENCE THERE REALLY ISN'T A WHOLE LOT I CAN DO.))
[OUT Q= i can do.]
Jeff Artis says he feels nothing but anger toward Officer Pledge.
Artis lives on Lafayette Boulevard.... where neighbors have formed a crime watch group.
He says Pledge routinely patrolled the area... and even attended crime watch meetings.
(/////sot//// 02:39:17 )
[in q= I'm very]
((I'M VERY AGGRAVATED BY THAT, YOU'RE A FAMILY TELEVISION SHOW SO I CAN'T REALLY GO INTO WHAT I THINK.))
[OUT Q= what I think.]
Artis says by attending crime watch meetings Pledge was aware of the names being handed over to police as possible drug dealers.
But the group trusted Pledge and even honored him for his work in the community.
[IN Q=It showed]
((IT SHOWED THE COMMUNITY WAS THANKFUL TO ROANOKE CITY POLICE))
[butt butt butt]
((AND HOPEFULLY PLEDGE'S ACTIONS DON'T CAST A NEGATIVE LIGHT ON THOSE POLICEMEN WHO'VE BEEN WORKING WITH US.))
[out q= with us.]
A sentiment echoed by Mayor Ralph Smith.
((I THINK WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE BIG TEAM.... GOOD THINGS FOR THE VALLEY.))
[OUT Q= for the valley.]
Jeff Artis says he's also angry at police chief Joe Gaskins who he says should've done more to protect the community because he knew of the investigation.
Keith... Gaskins and his staff would not conduct any on camera interviews.
The former Vinton police chief was in court today.
Rick Foutz is suing the town of Vinton, because he says he was forced to resign. He seeking 10-point-two million dollars in damages.
Today he asked that one of the town's attorneys -- Agnis (Og-NEES) Chakravorty (Shock-ruh-VOR-tee) -- be disqualified because the two served the town together and were close friends.
Chakravorty says he never saw Foutz socially and only learned about his resignation in the newspaper.
The judge says there's no conflict of interest and let Chakravorty stay on the case.
Lawyers for the town of Vinton will try to have the case dismissed September fifth.
Two and a half weeks after a mother nearly lost her entire family in a murder suicide in Martinsville, Katie Brown and her relatives released a written statement to the media.
The family wrote about the circumstances of the four deaths and what they say are inadequate services available in the community.
Surae Chinn has more.
[IN Q=It's a scene]
[OUT Q=News 7.]
Katie Brown walked through the door at 1302 Carver Court on July 8th to find four of her family members dead.
She has written a letter to the media describing the hardship her son, Jesse Jr. endured by caring for his father and his 12 year old nephew, Demitri. A hardship that would eventually lead to killing them, his sister, Dorothy Yolanda, and himself.
"Jesse Jr. led the battle in unearthing assistance for Demitri. When he was born, Demitri's prognosis was very grim because he suffered from multiple disabilities."
He was both mentally and physically disabled. And Jessie Senior suffered from Alzheimer's. Jesse Jr. was the primary caregiver for both. Katie Brown continues in her note:
"We know that Jessie Jr. loved his family, because he fought so hard to find workable solutions for over 12 years, exhausting every avenue and resource imaginable through the myriad of convoluted red tape; the senseless denial involved with out existing social system's inability to cope with an ever-changing care plan needed for the care of active disabled patients."
((SURAE CHINN/REPORTING:BUT SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES SAY THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE. LOCAL PROGRAMS PROVIDE INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY COUNSELING AND EVEN A 24 HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE. BUT FROM KATIE BROWN'S POINT OF VIEW, THE SYSTEM STILL FAILED HER.
SURAE CHINN, NEWS 7.))
A Danville murder suspect is awaiting extradition from New Jersey.
That's where 20 year old Atrae (UH-tray) Lamar Martin was found after a two-month search.
New Jersey authorities arrested Martin Saturday evening.
He's accused of the shooting death of 26 year old Daniel O'Bryant Woods in May.
Martin allegedly shot Woods three times in the back at Union Hall on Franklin Street.
Even though federal prosecutors say a convicted moonshiner is threating to blow up the Federal Building in Roanoke -- the judge would not lock him up.
Dee Stanley is out on 150-thousand-dollars bond with an electronic monitor until his trial in September.
The longtime bootlegger is charged with not only making and selling moonshine but also laundering the cash profits.
And the prosecutors say Stanley has a history of violence.
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[SOT 9:37:57 ]
[IN Q=The government]
((THE GOVERNMENT PRESENTED EVIDENCE THAT HE HAD MADE TWO THREATS REGARDING THE FEDERAL BUILDING. IN ONE HE SAID HE'D BURN IT DOWN. IN THE OTHER HE SAID HE'D BLOW IT UP.))
[SUPER=01-Sharon Burnham/Federal Prosecutor;]
[OUT Q=blow it up]
But the judge let Stanley out on bond, after he denied making the threats, and the government refused to make its informants testify in court.
Vandalism at one school, flames at another. Those stories are still ahead on News 7 at 6.
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A custodian kept a fire from spreading at a Roanoke County school this morning.
Some sports equipment on the stage caught fire and started filling the Clearbrook Elementary gym with smoke.
The custodian and a friend grabbed fire extinguishers and helped firefighters get the flames under control.
No one else was in the building at the time.
The fire damaged the original stage at Clearbrook.
Officials believe some exercise mats placed against a light bulb may have started the fire.
Police are looking for whoever broke into the Bedford Primary School over the weekend and vandalized a dozen rooms.
Authorities say the suspect or suspects stole food from the kitchen and cafeteria and smeared it around ten classrooms.
Physical damage was minimal, but it took crews more than a day to clean up the mess.
Police are hoping someone who attended a baseball tournament at the school on Saturday might have seen something suspicious in the area.
A proposal to outlaw harassment of gay students in Charlottesville has outraged a local conservative group.
The Charlottesville school board will vote next month on whether to add "sexual orientation" to its non- discrimination policy for students and teachers.
But the Family Policy Network in Forest says that would prevent Christian students from advising gays not to engage in what they feel is a dangerous lifestyle.
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[IN Q=And when you]
((JOE GLOVER/FAMILY POLICY NETWORK: AND WHEN YOU SAY TO A STUDENT THAT YOU CANNOT TELL ANOTHER PERSON THAT HIS LIFESTYLE IS DESTRUCTIVE BASED ON THE BEHAVIOR THAT HE EXERCISES IN THE SEX ACT WITH PERSONS OF THE SAME GENDER, YOU'VE CROSSED A LINE WITH REGARD TO FREE SPEECH THAT YOU SHOULDN'T CROSS.))
[SUPER=01-Joe Glover/Family Policy Network]
[OUT Q=shouldn't cross.]
Glover says if the change is adopted, a number of groups may sue the school board for violating students' First Amendment rights.
Tech stocks led the way downward on Wall Street.
[TAKE DOW, NASDAQ & BLOOMBERG PAGE ]
The Dow fell 49 points. NASDAQ lost 113. The Bloomberg-News 7 local index dropped less than a quarter of a point.
The suspect in last night's triple murder in Washington County is now in custody.
19-year-old Curtis Wayne Cullop of Glade Springs is being held without bond on three counts of first degree murder.
Police suspect Cullop of fatally shooting 70-year-old Carrie Owens, 69-year-old Carl Owens, and 41-year-old Patricia Arnold.
Police say a fourth victim in the shooting was released after hospital treatment.
Police say they have not yet established a motive for the murders.
American Electric Power customers can now volunteer for the new customer choice program. If you're interested, call A-E-P.
45-thousand spaces are available for the experiment that would allow customers to pick their own electricity provider on August 15.
All Virginians will be able to choose by the end of next year.
Coming up tonight on News 7 sports, we'll head to Redskins camp in Ashburn and check in with former Hokie Tyronne Drakeford who begins his 7th season in the league out of starter's role.
One of the NFL's top broadcasters is ready to retire.
And thanks to the All-Stars clinics of Roanoke Valley - some local girls are getting chance to work on their basketball skills this week at Hollins.
[TAPE#=sp-63 tc 1:20:15]
An area basketball camp is helping girls prepare for their future in the game.
Women's basketball is growing by leaps and bounds creating more opportunities for girls.
Hollins coach Karen Harvey has put on a basketball camp for the past five years, now she's hoping the camp will grow with the help of All Star Clinics of the Roanoke Valley.
All Star Clinics has brought on sponsors that provide food and other things to the campers.
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[IN Q=we have]
[SUPER=01-Karen Harvey/Hollins Basketball Coach;]
[OUT Q=kids to camp(double out)]
A guest speaker will talk to the campers each afternoon about life lessons.
The camp runs through Friday.
The Washington Redskins first full week of workouts for the veterans will begin tomorrow afternoon in Ashburn. The Skins' players all had today off.
The Redskins' off-season moves to build a Super Bowl contender have been well documented.
Sandwiched in amongst all the future of hall of famers that were signed, was former Hokie Tyronne Drakeford - who's desperately trying to find his niche on the upgraded defense.
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[SUPER=01-Tyronne Drakeford/Redskins Cornerback; :00]
[OUT Q=...the nation now."]
((TYRONNE DRAKEFORD/REDSKINS CORNERBACK:))
((Drakeford, who is now 29, was starter the last two seasons for the Saints and before that he not only started but polished his skills against future hall of famer Jerry Rice in San Francisco during his first four years in the league.
In coming to DC, he basically gave up playing time for a chance to be a champ.
Drakeford helped the Hokies get their recent string of seven straight bowls rolling during his senior season. He says last year's Tech season and the fact that Frank Beamer has now put more than 70 players in the NFL has made Tech much more of a household name in the league.))
[TAPE#=sp-71 tc 53:07]
Drakeford signed a one year deal for 440-thousands dollars to basically be the Redskins' fourth defensive back.
Compare that to the 358-thousand dollars Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Kurt Warner is earning.
Warner signed for what is basically the NFL minimum wage.
The superstar had to signed something under league rules just to step on the practice field.
He's looking for a long term deal with St. Louis, but says he's playing for the Rams for more than just money.
Warner says what happened last season is special and he wants to keep that going.
[TAPE#=sp-65 tc 1:29:32]
Pat Summerall says he's leaving the game of football.
A Fox Sports spokesman says the 70-year-old is planning to retire as an N-F-L announcer after the 2001 season.
Seen here with John Madden, Summerall has been broadcasting games for C-B-S and Fox since his playing career as a kicker ended in 1962.
Summerall's contract expires after the upcoming season. Fox will give him a one-year extension allowing him to call a record 16th Super Bowl.
He may continue to work for Fox on non-football assignments.
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed an all star defenseman.
Carolina penned (SAN'-dis OH'-zuh-lihsh) Sandis Ozolinsh to a five year contract.
The restricted free agent was acquired from Colorado on draft day last month.
Ozolinsh earned four million dollars last season.
He had 16 goals and 36 assists in 82 games.
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