Discipline Police Officer for Allegedly Extorting Drug Dealer

Target: Chief James Fitzpatrick, Lawrence Police

Goal: Suspend cop who allegedly used his status as an officer of the law to extort his cocaine dealer.

A Lawrence police officer has been arrested after an FBI probe found evidence that he had extorted his cocaine dealer. The allegations against John R. Desantis Jr. detail that he used his status as an officer of the law to extort free cocaine from a local drug dealer. This type of behavior from a police officer is plainly unacceptable. Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick must indefinitely suspend Desantis upon news of these very serious allegations.

The alleged extortion by Officer Desantis occurred after he had reportedly been buying cocaine multiple times over a year-long period from the same individual. The drug trafficker told FBI special agent John Walker that he had no idea Desantis was a police officer until a specific, threatening encounter between the two unfolded. During that encounter, the individual alleges that Desantis pulled up his shirt to reveal his handgun and police badge. Desantis then allegedly proceeded to initiate a “pat-down search” of the dealer, during which he reportedly stole a bag of powdered cocaine as well a a small bag of crack cocaine.

The individual also alleges that Desantis continued to extort him for weeks following the initial incident. Desantis reportedly told the individual that “you will not be arrested at all if you do as I tell you to.”

Officer Desantis’ alleged actions cannot be tolerated. Pending the federal extortion charges against him, there is no reason why he should remain a sworn officer of the law with the Lawrence Police Department. Sign the petition below to urge Lawrence Police Chief Fitzpatrick to indefinitely suspend Officer Desantis.


Dear Police Chief Fitzpatrick,

The allegations of extortion made against Officer John R. Desantis Jr. should not be taken lightly. That he reportedly used his status as a sworn officer of the law to extort free cocaine from his drug dealer is certainly unacceptable. Allowing him to remain a sworn officer in the Lawrence Police Department would thus be a grave mistake.

Though the charges against Officer Desantis are pending, I believe they are serious enough to warrant his indefinite suspension from the force. Failing to act accordingly would send a message to residents of Lawrence, and to other police officers, that the allegations made against Desantis are not considered important by the Lawrence Police Department.

I urge you to indefinitely suspend Officer Desantis pending these allegations of extortion which have been made against him.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Carl Russo

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