$3 million claim by Redmond officer who busted school drug ring

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @LByronK5

KING5.com

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 10:10 AM

REDMOND, Wash. - Open Redmond High School’s 2009-2010 student yearbook and there’s a photo of a senior student named Monica Draper.  Around Redmond High, Draper was known as a transfer student from California, with a keen interest in art, forensic science and scoring drugs.  It seemed like a lucky break that Monica was absent the day Redmond police converged on campus, hauling students out of class in a drug sweep in February 2010.

“They didn't tell us at all what was going on, just told us it was a lockdown,” senior Cameron Davidson said.

"Two officers came in and called a kid’s name; they got his backpack and took him and arrested him in the hallway outside of our door,” junior Ashley Rollofson said.

Here's where that bust gets really unusual: Monica Draper, the student missing that day, wasn't really Monica Draper.  She had a student ID and a driver license listing her birth date as September 1, 1991, but 18-year-old Monica Draper was actually 25-year-old Marcella Fogg, a Redmond police officer.  

Marcella masqueraded as Monica for more than six months, making dozens of drug buys that led to the arrest of eleven students.  Drugs purchased by Fogg and the Redmond Police Pro-Act Unit included heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, prescription pills and marijuana.

“Any type of drugs is alarming, but then when you go in and you get the marijuana and the heroin and the cocaine. I mean yeah, it's shocking for us and alarming,” said Jim Bove, Public Information Officer for the Redmond Police Department.

Fogg got a letter of recognition from the chief for "a job well done" and figured her career was taking off.   

“It gave her confidence - I’m a capable cop, I’m a good cop and I’m good at what I do,” said Covington Attorney Robert Kim, who represents Fogg.

According to Kim, after Fogg’s undercover job ended, she got a chilly reception from other Redmond cops who were jealous of her plum assignment as a rookie.  Kim said it was so bad that Fogg couldn’t always count on her fellow officers when she needed them.

Kim said that in June 2010, Fogg responded to a domestic violence call at a Redmond apartment complex, but instead of coming inside to assist her, the officer who was supposed to back up Fogg just sat in his car with the windows rolled up.

“She’s in a very vulnerable situation when there’s tons of people around and she’s there by herself, and this guy’s sitting in the squad car eating fruit,” Kim said.

Fogg complained.  Nothing happened to the officer, but Fogg claims whenever she stepped out of line, even a little, she got in big trouble.

In August 2011, Fogg sent a 14-year-old girl she’d arrested for shoplifting a sarcastic article about cooperating with police. The teen hadn’t been able to give Officer Fogg her address. The article, titled “Lost parrot gives owner’s name and address to vet,” was about how police were able to return the lost parrot, because the parrot knew the name and address of its owner.  A parent of the shoplifting suspect complained to Redmond police and following an internal investigation, Fogg was given a one day suspension for “conduct unbecoming.”

Then, on December 1, 2011, while pursuing a bank robbery suspect seen running from a bank in the Overlake Shopping Plaza at NE 24th and 148th Ave N.E., Fogg brushed her side mirror against a car that had stopped on the on-ramp to SR 520.

No one was injured, but because Fogg kept going and didn't report the collision right away, her bosses turned her into the Washington State Patrol to investigate her for a hit-and-run accident, a possible criminal violation.  The state patrol cleared Fogg on the hit-and-run, but she still got punished by the Redmond Police Department for not being forthcoming about what happened.

"Because of progressive discipline they suspended her without pay for a week,” said Kim, who also claims the punishment was excessive given the nature of the incident.

A third internal investigation has Officer Fogg fighting to keep her job. In the fall of 2011, she’d spotted a 16-year-old Redmond High School student at her local gym. The teen had what looked like self-inflicted wounds.  Fogg opened a welfare check case and began mentoring the teen at coffee shops with his parents’ permission.

"Mostly she was checking in on a kid she believed needed help and she gave him that help, inspiration, basic mentoring,” Kim said.

The turnaround was dramatic, in January, 2012, the teen’s parents wrote to the Redmond Police Chief praising Officer Marcella Fogg, expressing “gratitude and sincere appreciation” for the guidance and counseling Fogg had provided their son who was no longer depressed and was “even thinking of becoming a police officer.”  The parents credited Fogg with helping change their son from being defiant and angry to reflective, calm and apologetic.

But Fogg’s work with the teen prompted speculation around the Redmond Police Department that the relationship had crossed the line. Last August, Redmond hired an outside agency, the Bellevue Police Department, to investigate rumors that the 16-year-old, not Fogg’s husband, had gotten her pregnant. The case was opened as a possible criminal offense.  

In September, Bellevue police closed their investigation after concluding that the rumors were “unfounded.”  “There is no evidence of a crime involving Sexual Misconduct with a minor,” wrote the Bellevue detective in the case report, which KING 5 obtained through a public disclosure request.

“This is the travesty of this whole thing.  These people somehow concocted this story, literally fabricated it out of thin air, this story, to damage Marcella’s career, to hurt her psychologically and emotionally,” said attorney Kim.

Fogg has filed a claim against Redmond for harassment and retaliation. She’s asking for $3 million on damages. KING 5 caught up with Fogg outside City Hall, but Fogg said she could not answer any questions. 

“At this time I am not authorized to talk to you because of policy,” she said.

Fogg will always have the honorary diploma she received from Redmond High School but she wonders how much longer she will have her badge.

Last week Fogg was put on paid administrative leave again. According to documents obtained through public disclosure, Fogg is being investigated on three counts of alleged misconduct. They include speaking with an in-custody inmate in a holding facility when she was on light duty and not allowed to contact suspects, pitching an idea to the Redmond mayor without following the proper chain of command, and communicating with the teen she’d mentored after being told to “cease involvement” with him. 

While the rumors of a relationship between Fogg and the teen were determined to be unfounded, the teen’s parents said they feel Redmond police had no choice but to investigate given the nature of the allegations. They also said they believe that Bellevue did the right thing in taking the case.  They do not believe anything inappropriate took place between Fogg and their son.

The Redmond Police Chief scheduled, but then cancelled, two interviews to discuss Fogg’s case.   Chief Policy Advisor, Jeri Rowe-Curtis, provided a statement instead:  “Given the sensitive nature of the investigative findings and pending actions by the Redmond Police Department, it would be premature to answer questions at this time. The City of Redmond welcomes the opportunity to discuss this matter once its due diligence and related follow up concludes.  Until that time, we will respect the privacy of our employees and the integrity of the investigative process.”

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