Critics Claim Cable Cop Show Led To Wrongful Arrest

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lesia-moore-175“The notoriety makes it very important for law enforcement as well as perhaps the prosecutor’s office to make sure there are arrests and convictions in these cases,” said defense attorney Heather Barton.

Swavely was arrested for the November 3, 2008, murder of Richard Miller during a home invasion robbery on Indianapolis’ northwest side. Cameras from the Investigation Discovery show “The Shift” followed homicide detective Christine Minka as she investigated the case. An eyewitness, based on an internet posting, identified Swavely as a suspect. Swavely was arrested on camera and the show, “Brother’s Keeper”, aired on January 21, 2009. In December of 2009 that charge was dropped when the eyewitness, Miller’s step-brother Ricky Bluiett, recanted his identification.

“I was pretty sure but like I said, I’m not completely sure,” Bluiett told detectives two nights before the trial was scheduled to begin. Blueitt claimed Detective Minka pressured him into making the identification. “She was basically trying to convince me that it was them.”

Minka denies Bluiett’s claim, citing his earlier confirmation. Minka also suspected Bluiett played a role in the murder of his step-brother and may have fingered Swavely to deflect attention from himself. Minka also denied that pressure from appearing on “The Shift” played a role in Swavely’s arrest.

“The way I did the investigation had nothing to do with the show. I can only go where the evidence goes.”

Minka also indicated that her arrest warrant for Swavely was approved by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office which decided to drop the charges once Bluiett backed off his identification of Swavely.

“I did not feel comfortable proceeding against a defendant on a murder charge based solely on somebody being pretty sure,” said Chief Trial Deputy David Wyser. “I just think generally having a TV show while a case is pending is not a good thing.”

“The Shift” is filming its second season in Indianapolis. The show airs Wednesday nights at 10 on Investigation Discovery.

Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub told Fox 59 News that while he was not familiar with the Swavely case, he said that ground rules for the show’s access to homicide investigations may be reviewed.

according to fox59.com

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