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Former Dallas Police Convicted of Extorting Crack Dealers


January 1993

Former Dallas police officers Swany Davenport and Randy Harris were convicted of extorting more than $50,000 from crack dealers in a case that rocked the Dallas police department (Tracy Everbach, "Two Found Guilty of Extortion: Ex-officers Called Victims of Racism," The Dallas Morning News, 12/10/92, 1A; Todd Copilevitz, "Corruption Probe Faced Obstacles," 26A; Tracy Everbach, "Officers Took Drug Money, Man Testifies: Dealer Says Two Demanded 'Taxes' For Protection Against Raids," The Dallas Morning News, 12/2/92, 29A).

The conviction by a federal jury capped a complicated investigation that pitted the word of the two former police officers against that of crack dealers offered leniency by federal prosecutors in exchange for their testimony. According to testimony, Davenport and Harris demanded weekly payments ranging from $1000 to $2000 from November 1990 to April 1991 in return for leaving a major crack house alone. Maurice Green, who ran the crack house, testified that when he once missed a payment, the officers raided the house. On another occasion, the officers allegedly kidnapped two crack house employees and demanded $5000 for not taking them to jail. On one occasion, Green testified, the officers tipped him off to an impending federal raid, permitting Green to clear the premises of drugs and employees before law enforcement arrived. The combined take of dealers at the crack house averaged about $80,000 a week, Green said.

Harris and Davenport, both 27, face maximum sentences of life imprisonment without parole. They were convicted on four counts each: conspiracy to extort money, drugs, and guns from drug dealers; conspiracy to distribute cocaine; distributing crack cocaine; and obstructing commerce through extortion.