Kings of the Hill

Officers O'Bannon and Duncan have racked up an amazing number of Capitol Hill drug busts. And citizen complaints.

Officers O'Bannon and Duncan declined to be interviewed for this article.

Carl Moten, with more than thirty arrests on his record and several aliases and addresses, is a free man.

The jury at Moten's trial listened to the details of his drug arrest inside Lynch's apartment and stuck at 7-5 not guilty until one juror swayed to make it 6-6. Judge William Meyer declared a mistrial, and instead of waiting weeks, possibly months, for a new trial, Moten quickly pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge--a minor blemish on his lengthy record.

O'Bannon and Duncan's stories didn't gel when they testified at Moten's trial.

O'Bannon said Harvey Lynch resisted arrest and the duo had to "put him down."

"We never took him to the ground," Duncan said.
O'Bannon said the officers didn't say a word when they approached Lynch's door.

They identified themselves, Duncan said.
In his written report following the bust, Duncan found Lynch's butcher knife--the evidence that gave the team probable cause to enter the apartment in the first place--under the sofa in the living room. When asked in court if he found the knife, Duncan replied, "No, I did not."

After he was shown his statement, he recalled finding the knife.
Moten says of O'Bannon, "He said he saw me smoking crack, man. Now, come on, who is going to light a pipe when the cops are right outside the bedroom?" Moten never testified, but he insists that O'Bannon burst into the apartment, cuffed Lynch, rounded up everyone and started searching bodies as if it were an old-style shakedown--no explanation, no request for consent. Moten denies holding drugs that night. He says drugs found in the side cushion of the couch were pinned on him. Since his release, Moten, who goes by "Easy" on the streets, has vanished.

In the Detour macing incident, O'Bannon is scheduled for trial August 18. He's off patrol and now works in the office at District 6.

In James Holmes's case, which the Colorado Supreme Court sent back to the District Court, Holmes's attorneys are currently trying to settle his drug-possession charge out of court. While Holmes was in jail, his apartment was looted, and when he returned home, he was evicted.

The case involving Oliphant and Davis was thrown out after Judge Spriggs listened to the officers' testimony. In a rare action, Spriggs ended the trial immediately after the prosecution presented its case. Before he'd even heard the defense's argument, Spriggs concluded that the prosecution's evidence would fail to result in a guilty charge. "That was the first time in my twenty years that I had seen that," said a surprised but happy Baker. (Spriggs was a lifetime prosecutor and now heads the U.S. Attorney Criminal Division--he's hardly a soft-on-crime judge.)

The civil lawsuit filed by the Capitol Hill woman after the officers responded to her suicide-hotline call is still awaiting a trial date.

At least three other cases involving O'Bannon and Duncan are in the hands of public defenders. Attorneys won't discuss details of the cases publicly, citing confidentiality restraints.

However, the public defenders will eagerly challenge the arrests on points of probable cause or consent to search because now word is that believing O'Bannon and Duncan is difficult.

And that makes scoring crack easy.

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