A police sergeant is accused of pulling couples over with his cruiser and forcing them to engage in sex acts while he watched, threatening them with penalties if they refused.
Detroit Sgt. Roosevelt Tidwell, 39, pleaded not guilty Thursday and has been suspended from his job with pay.
A 21-year-old Detroit woman told investigators that she and a male friend were driving through Chandler Park early Feb. 7 when a Detroit police officer pulled them over.
The officer took their identification and got in the back seat of her car, then told the male friend to perform a sex act on the woman, according to court records. He threatened them with a $500 ticket if they didn’t, according to court records.
The woman said the officer also fondled her breast and forced her to fondle him. The officer then told her to get out of the car and demanded her cell phone number.
Tape allegedly captured coercion
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Tidwell later called the woman several times. The woman secretly taped at least one call and gave the tape to investigators.
Tidwell confronted two other women and two men early April 14, Worthy said.
They told investigators the officer pulled up to their vehicle in a police car, took their identification and told them they could go to jail or perform sex acts while he watched.
The women were told to perform sex acts on the two men, and one couple was forced to have intercourse, according to court records.
The victims said that the officer shone his flashlight on them and that they saw him masturbating. When a second patrol car approached, they said, the officer told them to stop and “be cool” before waving the other patrol car away.
A magistrate entered the not guilty plea to charges including five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Tidwell is being held in the Wayne County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Defense lawyer Fred Walker, arguing for a low bail amount, told Lockhart that Tidwell has been married 18 years and spent 22 years in the military and 12 years with the police department.
‘Not isolated incidents’
Tidwell also voluntarily met with the police department’s internal affairs investigators several days ago, Walker said.
Assistant Prosecutor James Heath argued that internal affairs has received more complaints from the same park about the same time as the two incidents linked to Tidwell.
“These are not isolated incidents in the least,” Heath said. “This is an officer, using his position of authority to clearly take advantage.”
The charges also include two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, four counts of extortion and two counts of misconduct in office.
More charges are possible, the prosecutor’s office said.