Berrien County deputy charged with filing false reportPublished 10:25am Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday that charges would be brought against Berrien County Sheriff Deputy Justin Hopkins, 26, for the filing of a false police report of a misdemeanor.
Prosecuting attorney Arthur Cotter said Monday that the charge stems from a September incident during which Hopkins was involved in New Buffalo Township.
The statement also said that the charges follow an internal investigation by members of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department along with detectives from the Allegan and St. Joseph Sheriff’s Department.
During the situation in question, Cotter said that police responded to a call of a disturbance. Members of surrounding law enforcement agencies aided in the call which then turned into a traffic stop after a suspect was seen running from the home. Hopkins was on the scene during that stop and “ultimately,” Cotter said, was responsible for writing up the report on the incident which resulted in the arrest of one individual for possession of marijuana.
“While the investigation revealed that the traffic stop, search and subsequent arrest was valid,” the statement said. “It also revealed that the police report submitted by Deputy Hopkins falsely represented the facts and circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and arrest. As a result of the false information contained in the police report the possession of marijuana charge against the individual involved in the traffic stop was dismissed.”
Hopkins was arraigned Monday and Cotter said he had been put on administrative leave from the sheriff’s department, which he added would ultimately make the decision regarding his career’s future.
The charge, he said, is “punishable by up to 93 days in jail.”
Hopkins is scheduled to appear in court again Dec. 29 for a pretrial.