VIPD head detective charged with making false report against fellow officer


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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Police Department's chief of detectives has been charged with falsifying evidence and making a false report.

Milton Petersen Sr., a former police chief in the St. Thomas-St. John District who has been with the department for 24 years, was handcuffed and arrested at 6:30 a.m. Thursday after Magistrate Henry Carr signed a warrant for the police lieutenant's arrest on Wednesday.

Petersen's bail was set at $10,000.

Petersen also was the chief of detectives in the St. Thomas-St. John District, as well as the president of the Law Enforcement Supervisors Union Local Chapter 118 as recently as late last year. Union representatives could not be reached Friday to confirm whether he still is the president.

In November 2013, union officials filed complaints that Petersen had violated union rules and federal laws by not holding elections for the union in more than five years.

In 2007, when Gov. John deJongh Jr. decided to axe the territorial chief of police position and replace it with two district chiefs, one in the St. Croix District and one in St. Thomas-St. John District, Petersen temporarily was chosen for the latter position.

Petersen was a sergeant before being named chief and also was the supervisor of the detectives in the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

After his arrest, he was placed on unpaid leave, according to V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames.

Falsifying evidence

Police reported that Petersen fabricated information to "knowingly, willingly, and intentionally" accuse another police officer of trying to cause an auto collision on Aug. 12.

Based on video surveillance that was pulled from a nearby business, the incident never happened, according to James McCall, who wrote the probable cause fact sheet for Petersen's case.

McCall, who served as the V.I. police commissioner when Petersen served as chief of the St. Thomas-St. John District, is the director of investigations for the V.I. Justice Department.

According to Petersen's report in early August, he had been driving west on Norre Gade when he observed the officer's vehicle, a black sport utility vehicle, approaching the intersection between Norre Gade and Fort Strade.

"R/ then said that when he got close to the intersection, S/ drove her vehicle out as if to collide with R/'s vehicle and stopped," Petersen wrote, referring to himself as "R/" and the other officer as "S/."

Petersen claimed that the officer, who he said that he had been having trouble with since she was arrested in connection with a domestic violence dispute in 2012, turned and laughed and him and cursed at him when he told her "Good morning."

The 2012 domestic violence charges against the other officer were dropped for a lack of probable cause shortly thereafter, and she returned to her position with the force.

Petersen claimed that he since had been logging incidents, one in which she brushed shoulders with him and another in which she became loud and boisterous at the hospital when they were on-duty.

However, after reviewing surveillance video, McCall found that the other officer had stalled at the intersection for 15 seconds while traveling north on Fort Strade. During those 15 seconds, three vehicles crossed her path, and her vehicle did not move.

After the last vehicle passed, she waited another six seconds before going through the intersection, which she said was because she had been speaking with her daughter, according to the report.

"She did not see Milton Petersen Sr. drive pass her," McCall wrote, based on the officer's testimony to him.

Based on the video, she never swerved at Petersen's vehicle or interacted with him, as he had claimed in his written report.

Petersen has been released on bail pending trial.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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