Day three of the trial of Pulaski Constables Michael “Wally” Wallace and Gary Baldock focused on arrest citations, testimony from citizens that have accused the constables of inappropriate behavior during traffic stops and information from FBI agents present during the searches of the constables’ homes after they were arrested.
Fifth District Constable Wallace and 4th District Constable Baldock have been charged in federal court with Conspiracy Against Civil Rights and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.
As part of Wednesday's proceedings, the jury viewed citations from several of Wallace’s arrests that were discussed previously, including the arrest of the FBI’s undercover asset, Kareem Pinkney.
The arrest citation, signed by Wallace and including Baldock and Burnside Police Officer Eric Thomas, stated that Pinkney was being arrested for Public Intoxication.
Wallace wrote that he observed Pinkney as having bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and dilated pupils, and that he was unsteady on his feet.
Also submitted as evidence in the trial was the search warrant for the hotel room that Pinkney held a key for. That warrant stated that the probable cause was, in part because, “I was told by the subject the drugs were in the hotel room.”
This is after Tuesday’s testimony in which video was shown with Pinkney telling Wallace several times that he was not in the drug trade and didn’t have any in his possession.
Jurors also viewed the citation for the arrest of Timothy Sizemore.
Sizemore was arrested in 2018 after being stopped by Wallace. The constable had asked for assistance from the Somerset Police Department, and Officers Andrew Salmons, Nicholas Taylor and James Mayfield responded.
On Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from those three officers who stated that after having searched the vehicle themselves, Wallace approached the driver’s side door, leaned down for no more than one to two seconds, then produced a small pill bottle that contained illegal drugs.
Norfleet suggested that the bottle may have been concealed in a pair of work gloves in the door’s side panel – a pair of gloves that both Salmons and Taylor said they had not searched.
In the citation for that arrest, signed by Wallace, the constable wrote that he found the illegal substances in a cigarette pack located under the driver’s seat.
Also on Wednesday, jurors heard from two people who claim civil rights violations were made against them during their arrests. First was Danny Hughes, a Eubank man, who claimed that Wallace planted evidence on him during a September 2018 traffic stop.
Hughes admitted that when Wallace pulled him over, the methamphetamine, marijuana and firearm that were found in his possession were his, but he had never seen the scales or baggies that Wallace claimed he found.
Those items were enough to upgrade the charge to Trafficking, which – along with being a Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm – Hughes pleaded guilty to in Pulaski Circuit Court.
However, after it became common knowledge that the FBI was investigating Wallace, the drug charge against Hughes was dropped and he ended up being sentenced only for the firearm charge.
Somerset resident Kayla Dobbs, who has a civil lawsuit filed against Wallace and Baldock, testified that she was falsely arrested and imprisoned when she was essentially tricked into moving a vehicle at Wallace’s request, then charged with Driving Under the Influence.
Dobbs testified that in December 2019, after an evening of drinking, she was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by someone else when the vehicle had to pull over because one of the occupant became sick and vomited.
As the group was parked and trying to clean the vehicle, Wallace pulled up behind them and told them they couldn’t park where they were.
He told Dobbs to move the vehicle, but she stated that she had been drinking and didn’t want to drive it. She testified that he insisted, and when she went to comply he activated his blue lights and asked for her license and insurance.
Dobbs stated that Wallace said he thought he had arrested her for heroin, but she told the court she had never done drugs before in her life.
She was given a field sobriety test by Burnside Police officer which she failed, and that officer arrested her and charged her with Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol.
When Robert Norfleet, the attorney for Wallace, asked Dobbs why she has sued Wallace and Baldock only and have not included the Burnside officer, Dobbs replied, “He was doing what he was told.”
She accused Wallace and Baldock of taking gift cards and cash which was missing from her vehicle after the constables searched it, and of ripping up the seats in her vehicle looking for nonexistent drugs.
Also testifying Wednesday were FBI agents Julian Agnew and Matt Russell, who were among the Federal agents who searched the residences of Wallace and Baldock on the day of their arrest – March 6, 2020.
Agnew testified that while searching a vehicle parked in Baldock’s garage, agents found in the trunk a yellow plastic Dollar General bag in the “wheel well” area that had items such as a bag with a “green, leafy substance,” scales, and several vials with “a substance” in them and container with “a crystalline substance.”
The FBI agent couldn’t confirm whether the “green, leafy substance,” or indeed any of the substances had been tested to determine what they were.
Russell, meanwhile, stated that during a search of Wallace's home, agents found two plastic totes in a safe that contained sealed bags marked as “evidence.”
Within many of those bags were illegal substances.
During his opening statements, Norfleet had said those bags of evidence were in Wallace’s home because he was unable to get an appointment to log that evidence into the Somerset Police Department’s evidence room.
On Wednesday, Evidence Custodian for SPD, John Swiderski, said that was untrue.
Wallace was allowed to store evidence anytime, with the only stipulation being he had to wait for an SPD officer to be available to help, because only SPD officers had access to the room and computer in which to log the evidence in.
“I never wanted him to stop bringing evidence in,” he said.
The only restriction Swiderski gave Wallace was in the storage of long guns, which Swiderski said he was running out of room for.
“I only have so much storage,” he said, adding that 1,300 to 1,500 pieces of evidence are being brought in each year.
He likened the area to a roach trap, saying items “come in but they don’t come back out.” All evidence has to be stored in that room until it is brought out for a trial or they get a court order to destroy it.
The trial is expected to continue Thursday, with prosecuting attorney Jason Parman saying he plans to rest the United State’s case, turning the case over to the defense.