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Gangster in blue

The feds say a celebrated Atlanta cop doubled as a gang leader

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And his alleged crimes bear eerie resemblance to some of the 15 Atlanta Police Department internal affairs investigations into Freeman's behavior over the past five years.

The double-phonebook stack of internal affairs investigative files only offer hints of a cop gone wild. None of the complaints that citizens filed against Freeman mention the Diablos, and some complaints were likely tarnished by the not-so-stellar credibility of Freeman's accusers.

But Freeman's behavior, as described by those who claimed to be his victims, was growing increasingly erratic.

In 1997 Freeman was hanging out with Jared Samples, at the time an Atlanta City Council member, when Freeman and Samples' campaign manager, Edward Traylor, got into a pushing match, according to internal affairs documents. Traylor claimed Freeman put a pistol to his head. But witnesses -- including Samples and his nephew -- said they'd stepped out of the room at the time the gun was allegedly pulled. Samples later signed an affidavit saying he was confident that Freeman, who's described in police documents as Samples' best friend, did not have a gun.

Internal affairs dropped Traylor's charge against Freeman.

Also in 1997, a man named Arroya Carruth says Freeman approached him in a grocery store parking lot and said "he was going to take me by the place that they sell marijuana and then he was going to plant it on me and arrest me for it."

Carruth claimed he was placed in the back of Freeman's patrol car and that Freeman "was playing a tape of Tupac and he turned the radio up loud and he had his police hat turned to the rear of his head." He says Freeman took him up a dirt road off Bankhead Highway, told him to lie on the ground and stuck revolver to his head: "The other officer came over and he told Officer Freeman if you're going to do him, don't do him with that gun, do it with the other gun. But I never saw another gun."

Carruth was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer, among other charges, and claimed that at his bond hearing, "I was telling the other prisoners that if they ever see Officer Freeman out on the street to be cautious because he's crooked. Officer Freeman said, 'Fuck you, I'm on the right side of the law.'"

Freeman denied he did anything but arrest Carruth after a routine traffic stop. The investigation was dismissed for want of evidence.

In July 2002, a citizen complaint again placed former Councilman Samples at the scene of a Freeman fray. Samples and a woman named Tomika Hayes had visited Freeman's house and Freeman got hostile and told them to get out, Hayes later told internal affairs. As she drove away at 2 a.m., she claimed Freeman fired a shot at her.

According to a transcript of a 911 call, which she immediately placed, Hayes said: "Yes, good evening, uh, I was just at a party, a mutual friend's house that I didn't even know and was ask[ed] to leave and we left. He fired a weapon at me."

Two Atlanta officers met Hayes on the street and escorted her back to Freeman's house. One officer went inside.

"They returned to my car to inform me that they did not find any shell casings," she said. "Mr. Samples came down to the car asking me to let him take care of it and for me to act as if it were a bad dream and no one really shot at me."

Freeman denied pulling a gun and said he never even knew the cops visited his home. He told internal affairs that shortly after Hayes drove off, he'd showered and gone to bed.

When internal affairs began posing questions to Officer Rodrick Dingle, who went to Freeman's door and who had known Freeman for six years, a funny exchange followed:

IA: Did you speak with Officer Freeman during the incident in question?

RD: No, Mr. Samples advised that he was not accessible.

IA: What did Mr. Samples tell you in regards to Officer Freeman not being accessible?

RD: He did not state the reason. ...

IA: When Mr. Samples stated to you Officer Freeman was inaccessible, did you request he elaborate?

RD: No. ...

IA: Did you canvas the neighborhood for witnesses?

RD: No.

IA: Did you generate a police report of the incident?

RD: No.

IA: Did you notify a supervisor that Officer Freeman was accused of discharging his weapon at a civilian?

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