LONDON, Ky. — Jurors heard a tale of two arrests – one of a private citizen, one of an undercover FBI “asset” – during the second day of the federal trial of constables Michael “Wally” Wallace and Gary Baldock.
The first arrest was by Wallace of a man suspected of possessing meth, in which SPD officers in attendance became suspicious of Constable Wallace’s actions.
When those SPD officers reported their suspicions to their superior, it set into motion the chain of events that led to the FBI setting up a sting operation in order to attempt to catch Wallace and Baldock falsifying evidence to make an arrest.
The two Pulaski constables are charged with Conspiracy Against Civil Rights and Possession With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.
The first part of the day was filled with discussion on whether Wallace had planted drugs in the vehicle of an Eubank man, Timothy Sizemore, whom Wallace pulled over on South Main Street in November 2018.
Wallace then requested assistance from the Somerset Police Department and three SPD officers responded.
Two officers, Andrew Salmons and Nicholas Taylor testified that they searched Sizemore’s vehicle, especially the driver’s side area, which is where Wallace said his K-9 had indicated the presence of drugs.
Both officers stated they did not find drugs during their search. However, they said they saw Wallace approach the vehicle, look in the area of the door no longer than one to two seconds, and then come back with a small pill bottle that contained meth.
It was the contention of Wallace’s attorney, Robert Norfleet, that Wallace found the pill bottle inside a pair of work gloves located in the side panel of the vehicle’s door.
Both Salmons and Taylor testified that they saw the gloves in the vehicle, but both also said they did not specifically search the gloves.
Taylor said that he felt like he would have been able to see if there were something within the gloves, but he did not specifically search them and that he didn’t attach any significance to those gloves.
SPD Officer James Mayfield, who was not searching the vehicle but holding the rear hatch of the vehicle because it wouldn’t stay up on its own, testified that after the SPD officers had searched the driver’s side door, Wallace passed by Mayfield, said “Watch this s**t,” and approached the door of the vehicle. He then pulled the bottle out and confronted Sizemore with it.
All three officers testified that they did not see Wallace with a pill bottle or with any methamphetamine before he went toward the door of the vehicle and produced the bottle.
For his part, Sizemore testified that he did not have any drugs in the vehicle when it was searched.
He admitted during his testimony that earlier that evening he had given a ride to someone to the Budget Inn in Somerset at the behest of Robert Beach.
Both Beach and Sizemore admitted that Beach gave a quantity of meth to the person Sizemore had brought to the hotel, and that person and Sizemore then went into a room.
Sizemore stated that he took some meth while in the hotel room, but did not have any meth in his possession when he left.
He did say he had a pair of gloves in the car.
After the stop, Sizemore was left in the custody of Baldock (who had not been present at the scene), while Salmons and Wallace went into the SPD offices to write up a search warrant for the Budget Inn. Salmons said he had to assist in preparing that warrant because only SPD officers had access to their computers.
Norfleet asked Salmons, “How can you participate in the execution of a search warrant if you thought the process was unlawful?”
“At the time, I wasn’t sure,” Salmons said, and stated that it wasn’t until after the three SPD officers had time to confer that they all three raised their suspicions to their superior.
When Norfleet asked him why he didn’t say anything at the time of the traffic stop, Salmons replied, “It wasn’t an easy decision… human emotions were attached to it.”
It was the SPD officers’ report on their suspicions that led to the FBI getting involved.
In September of 2019, an undercover FBI agent was placed under surveillance by multiple federal agents in the parking lot of the Somerset Mall, while an “anonymous tip” was called into Constable Wallace’s tip line, claiming that the man was a possible drug trafficker.
That undercover officer testified Tuesday, under the name of Kareem Pinkey, which the prosecution stated was a pseudonym due to the officer’s continued undercover operations.
Pinkey stated that he was given $11,000 and a hotel room key to hold. “I was supposed to be a person sitting in a parking lot with cash,” he said.
When Wallace approached the vehicle, he removed Pinkey from it and placed handcuffs on him, telling him he was not under arrest but being detained “for my safety and for your safety.”
Wallace then proceeded to have his K-9, Rowdy, circle the vehicle.
Jurors were played both the FBI’s surveillance video and body cam footage from Wallace, with Norfleet implying that in Wallace’s video it could be seen that the dog “hit on” the driver’s side door, indicating the presence of drugs.
If true, this would contradict the assertion of the FBI that the dog gave no indication of drugs being in the vehicle.
Pinkey testified that it was his impression that Constable Wallace was talking as if the dog had alerted on the door but did not actually do so.
He also testified that at no time during the search of either the vehicle or the hotel room did Wallace or Baldock plant drugs on him.
Wallace called in a Burnside Police Officer, Eric Thomas, who was asked to conduct a field sobriety test on the undercover agent.
Pinkey testified that Thomas told him he looked as if he was under the influence of marijuana or opioids.
Thomas, in turn, testified that it is common practice to say something like that to see if the suspect will admit to anything.
Thomas testified that he couldn’t see anything within the test to indicate the undercover agent was intoxicated and told Wallace, “I’m not going to arrest him. It’s up to you.”
At that point, Baldock asked how to fill out the paperwork to indicate that a suspect is intoxicated.
Pinkey did not give consent to search his hotel room, so Wallace and Baldock had to obtain a search warrant by reporting a probable cause to do so.
During that search, a hidden camera within the hotel room caught conversations between the constables and Pinkey. At one point, Wallace was recorded telling the undercover agent that if he told the truth about where the drugs were that he would keep the case on the state level, but if he continued to make it difficult, “So help me God, I’ll see to it you’ll die in federal prison.”
The agent repeatedly denied being in the drug trade, and was eventually booked into the Pulaski County Detention Center by Wallace and Baldock on a charge of Public Intoxication.
He was released several hours later after the FBI arranged for that release.