Atlanta police officer fired over $500 missing from homicide victim's wallet

Officer Keisha Richburg was at the scene of a June 19 shooting. Authorities released footage from her body camera.

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By David K. Li

Atlanta police fired one of their own and then released the officer's body camera footage, allegedly showing her mishandling $500 in cash from a homicide victim's wallet, officials said.

Officer Keisha Richburg was at the scene of a shooting in northwest Atlanta on June 19, when an EMT handed her the wallet of shooting victim Jamel Harris, 29, who later died at the hospital, authorities said.

Bodycam video showed the EMT tucking cash into the wallet's fold — and not into the main compartment where cash is usually placed, according to footage posted by the Atlanta Police Department on its YouTube channel on Tuesday.

After the EMT, at the 11-second mark, handed the wallet to Richburg, she's seen in her car handling it at the 1:16 mark, but without the cash in its fold, officials said.

An Atlanta Police officer has been fired for mishandling money from a homicide victim and not being truthful about what happened to it.Atlanta Police Dept.

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"Officer Richburg transfers the victim’s wallet from her right hand to her left hand; it is readily apparent the money is no longer tucked inside the wallet," according to a police statement.

Later in the video, Richburg is shown surrendering the wallet to another police officer at Grady Memorial Hospital.

"Officer Richburg hands off the now-empty (of cash) wallet to a homicide unit sergeant," police said.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields fired Richburg on Monday.

"Officer integrity goes to the heart of what we do here every single day," Shields said in a statement. "It's imperative the public have trust in our word and our actions. It's extremely disappointing to see the victim of a fatal shooting be victimized twice by the actions of one of our officers."

EMT Kevin Geter told investigators the money was handed over by a bystander, who told him the cash belonged to the victim.

"I shouldn't have been messin' with it, because it was a crime scene, but it was just habit from not leaving patients' monies and stuff, so I just picked it up and then realized what I did, so I handed it off to the officer," Geter told internal affairs investigators, in transcripts cited by NBC affiliate WXIA.

Atlanta's police union disputes the department's claim and said Richburg is now in the appeals process that she hopes will reverse her termination.

"She didn't know money was in there," Vincent Champion, regional director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, told NBC News on Wednesday.

The union rep insisted the video footage released by the department is inconclusive at best.

"They haven't proven that she had the money or took the money," Champion said. "We don't feel the officer did that."

Police are expected to forward their findings to prosecutors this week, a spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

An-Nur Green, 43, was arrested and booked for murder after he allegedly shot Harris in the head because of an argument, police said.