Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard said that Harper, a 52-year-old lieutenant, and Carson, a 44-year-old patrolman, have been charged as accessories after the fact in an August 2020 shooting that involved a third Tulsa police officer’s boyfriend’s brother.
The Oklahoma police officers were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon, according to records accessed via the Tulsa County Jail website. Both were released on $50,000 bond within two hours of their arrests, records show.
Reports indicate that both officers have been placed on unpaid leave since their arrest, but neither appears to have been fired. Before that, both officers spent had spent a full year on paid leave, Tulsa World reports.
Prosecutors: Marcus Harper, Ananias Carson Covered Up Shooting
According to an affidavit obtained by the Associated Press, Harper and Carson went to the apartment of then-officer Latoya Dythe on Aug. 24, 2020. Court documents allege that Dythe called the officers after she learned her boyfriend’s brother, Johnathon Jones, was involved in what police characterized as a gang-related shooting while he was using Dythe’s personal vehicle.
The officers also allegedly told the Jones brothers not to tell anyone that police had visited Dythe’s apartment, court documents claim.
Three hours after the visit, prosecutors believe, Dythe reported that her vehicle was involved in a shooting, at which point patrol officers searched her vehicle in an official capacity.
Ananias Carson, the affidavit claims, lived in the same apartment complex as Dythe and allegedly returned after his first visit to assist the patrol officers in their search.
Prosecutors said that Dythe, Harper and Carson failed to report all of the information they had on the shooting, and that none of them disclosed Harper and Carson’s visit before the shooting was officially reported. Carson is also accused of deleting “large amount of data” from his phone before it was seized as part of the investigation.
Harper Came Clean, Authorities Say
The affidavit claims that none of the three officers reported their full involvement in the August 2020 shooting until police obtained a search warrant for Dythe’s phone and apartment. At that point, court documents allege, Marcus Harper informed his superiors that he had visited Dythe’s apartment that day.
Prosecutors also wrote that Harper said he had taken the first half of the day off of work when he visited Dythe’s apartment — implying that he was not acting in his capacity as a police officer when he searched Dythe’s car and advised the Jones brothers to skip town.
But Harper’s superior said he did not recall approving the lieutenant to take that morning off, the affidavit claims.
Dythe Charged in Separate Gun Case
Before Marcus Harper and Ananias Carson were charged on Tuesday, Latoya Dythe had left the Tulsa Police Department in disgrace after being convicted of conspiring to make a false statement to a firearms dealer.
In that case, federal prosecutors found that Dythe had broken the law by falsely stating on a gun purchase form that the weapon would be for her. Instead, the court found, the firearm was given to her boyfriend Devon Jones.
It’s not immediately clear if the firearm Dythe purchased for her boyfriend was used in the alleged gang shooting of August 2020.