Rogue police detective accused of arresting innocent people - CBS46 News

Rogue police detective accused of arresting innocent people, still on the job

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LAWRENCEVILLE, GA (CBS46) -

Think you're innocent until proven guilty? You might not be in the eyes of Lawrenceville Police Detective Tim Ashley.

One of his botched investigations landed an innocent man behind bars for nearly three months. It didn't matter that the facts didn't fit, facts anyone could have could have seen with an untrained eye.

Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman is asking the Tough Question: Why isn't anything being done to stop him?  

On September 16, 2011, an armed robbery was committed at a local Lawrenceville apartment complex.  The two victims said the gunman had tattoos on his face, across his eyes, and they said he was called by the nickname "C-lo."

Enter 27-year old Carlos Orlando Fairley, or C-lo for short.

"My brother actually gave me that name," Fairley said.

He applied for a job with the TSA to help support his family.

"I got a letter back three weeks later and it said I was wanted for two counts of armed robbery in Gwinnett County," Fairley said.

"Are you thinking it couldn't have been me?" Saltzman asked.

"I knew it wasn't me," Carlos Fairley replied.

Saltzman met Carlos in his hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi.  He said he wasn't even in Georgia at the time of the crime. 

"This is where I reside now, Gulfport, Mississippi. This is my home," Carlos Fairley said.

When Fairley got the letter notifying he was wanted, he did the opposite of what a criminal would do. He picked up the phone, called the police, and told them exactly where he was.

"I got in touch with Detective Tim Ashley. I said, 'Officer there must be some kind of big misunderstanding. I've been in Mississippi for the last 9 years, I hadn't even been to Georgia,'" Carlos Fairley said. 

But Detective Ashley was sure he had found his man.

"The detective didn't want to listen to anything I had to say. I'm telling this man, 'You have the wrong person. Whatever you want, I'll show you.'  The man told me, 'I don't give a damn if you are looking over your shoulder until you are 93. We are going to get you. I don't give a damn, I don't give a damn. You know you did it,' and he hung up in my face," Carlos Fairley said.

The only shred of evidence Ashley had was a jail entry from nearly a decade before when Fairley was in high school and got arrested for joy riding.

"I did my boot camp, got my GED, everything, changed my whole life since then," Carlos Fairley said.

At that time he was booked in the computer system with an alias of C-lo. The victims in the armed robbery said they went to Dacula High School with a kid named C-lo. They later identified Carlos Fairley from his 9-year-old mug shot as the person holding the gun.

"By the time I had the chance to get clothes on, they were already here with big shields and pistols in my face saying, 'Put your hands on your head, don't make a move.  We will shoot.' So at that moment, I am terrified," Carlos Fairley said.

He was arrested and held in a Mississippi jail until he was extradited to Georgia three weeks later.

"They had me in jail with like all of the murderers and sex offenders, and little innocent me," he said.

"I knew from the beginning, this is not possible," Fairley's mother, Juanita said.

She was determined to prove her son was innocent.  She sat on the computer day and night collecting phone records which showed Carlos' cell-phone pinging off towers in Mississippi, names of witnesses who saw him at work, and even ATM surveillance video which shows him withdrawing cash at a Gulfport ATM three hours before the crime.

"I was living on coffee and cigarettes and the computer," Juanita Fairley said.

And what about two of the most distinctive clues?

"You can see I have no tattoos on my face, none, but I was locked up for this heinous crime," Carlos Fairley told Saltzman.

The victims said C-lo had tattoos on both eyes and across the bridge of his nose. And they said he went to Dacula High School.

"I never went to Dacula High School," Carlos Fairly said. "I couldn't tell you where is it at if my life depended on it."

"If the detective had done his job from the beginning, we would have never come to this point of my son going to jail," said Juanita Fairley.

But Ashley didn't check those details. He had Carlos Fairley extradited to Georgia, where he would spent nearly two more months behind bars.

"I can honestly say I have never seen a less competent job of police investigation as by this detective," said Mark Bullman, a former cop and Carlos Fairley's attorney.

"Detective Ashley, in spite being offered all of this evidence, arrogantly told Carlos I don't care what you have to say, I know you are guilty. He couldn't care less that an innocent man sat in jail for two months," Bullman continued.

And this isn't the only time Detective Ashley has been accused of wrongfully imprisoning an innocent person.

"Why did they arrest you?" Saltzman asked Ann Jaipersaud.

"I wish I knew. I called them. So I guess I was arrested for calling the cops," Jaipersaud replied.

The convenience store owner called the police because she needed help with a rowdy customer.

"The guy said I slapped him, which I did not. I asked him to leave and I said, 'I have a surveillance system that you guys can look at it,'" Jaipersaud said.

Jaipersaud offered to show police the video.

"I was the one who told them about the surveillance. I had nothing to hide," she continued.

But Ashley, shown on the video berated and then arrested her because she didn't know how to work the video system.           

"I said, 'Are you threatening me?' He said, 'No, I'm arresting you,'" Jaipersaud continued.

Jaipersaud was awarded a $137,000 federal judgment last month after jurors determined Ashley threw her in jail illegally.

"That person is dangerous, he can hurt somebody. Without a cause I was in jail," she told Saltzman.

"Do you think this guy is a liability for your department?" Reporter Wendy Saltzman asked Lawrenceville Police Chief Randy Johnson.

"I can't discuss it right now," he replied.

"Have you taken any disciplinary action against him?" Saltzman asked.

"No ma'am," Chief Johnson said.

Johnson has defended Ashley's actions.

"Is he still on the force?" Saltzman asked.

"Ma'am, I cannot discuss it at this time," the Chief replied.

"You can't tell us if he is still on the force?" Saltzman asked.

"He is still on the force," Johnson said.

Carlos Fairley was finally released when the district attorney asked that a new picture be shown to the victims. Not only did they not identify Fairley, one of them identified someone else. 

"The City of Lawrenceville needs to get rid of Detective Ashley. He does not need to be in law enforcement," Bullman said.

"The suspect in this case had tattoos on his face. Wouldn't that have been easy enough to check just by looking at his mug shot?" Saltzman asked the Chief.

He would not respond.

"That would seem pretty easy. That's pretty easy detective work, does he have tattoos on his face or does he not," Saltzman continued.

The crime would have been punishable by 20 years in prison. But the actual perpetrator of this armed robbery is still on loose, because Ashley arrested the wrong guy.  

"He don't need no kind of authority. He abused it. He abuses authority and he did it too many times to too many people" Carlos Fairley said.

"Do you think that is good detective work?" Saltzman asked the police chief.

But the Chief walked away without replying.

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