A Detroit police officer was indicted Friday on allegations that he knew about a murder plot and later lied about it.
Elijah Lately was indicted on two counts of lying to a police officer during a violent crime investigation, according to a press release from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. The indictment was unsealed Monday, and the felony carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
The prosecutor's office said Lately was identified as a possible witness during the investigation into the death of Brandon Rice, who was killed in April at his home near Detroit. A Michigan State Police detective questioned Lately one day after Rice was killed, and a Detroit homicide detective questioned him again in July. Both times, Lately denied having information about the shooting, according to the prosecutor’s statement.
Lately allegedly lied about being in contact with suspects after the shooting, and did not reveal his prior knowledge of a plan to kill Rice or the individuals involved, the prosecutor's office said.
“The allegations against the officer in this case are deeply disturbing,” Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. “I would like to commend the Detroit Homicide Task Force and the members of my office for their excellent work.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters Monday that the Lately investigation was a collaboration between the department’s homicide task force and the Professional Standards and Integrity Unit, which investigates allegations of criminal officer misconduct.
“We hold our own accountable,” Craig said. “We didn’t wait for an outside entity to come in and investigate, this was not the FBI or some other federal agency that initiated this investigation, this was solely the Detroit Police Department investigating one of its own.”
Dmarco Dorian Hoskins, 25, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, first degree murder and witness intimidation in Rice’s death. His indictment was also unsealed Monday.
Craig declined to answer further questions about the murder investigation, which is still open.
According to Click on Detroit, Rice, 33, was killed on the morning of April 23 outside his home in Highland Park, an enclave within Detroit’s borders. He was leaving to take his children to school.
“He never let me down,” Rice’s girlfriend told the news station at the time. “He was my superman.”
Hoskins is being held without bail. Assistant Prosecutor Anna Posigian told the Detroit News that Hoskins and Rice had been in conflict for several years. She alleged that Rice was killed to prevent him from testifying against Hoskins at trial.
Lately has been a police officer for four years and is currently suspended without pay. He is being held on a $400,000 bond. Craig said Lately had no sustained allegations of misconduct on his record, but had been written up for “minor infractions.”
The officer's attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
This story has been updated with comments from Detroit Police Chief James Craig.
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