Thursday, November 16, 2000

Officer Aleem Abdullah - Acquitted - Benton Harbor PD

Also See:

Officer Aleem Abdullah - CSC charges [December 1999]


Officer Aleem Abdullah - Domestic violence allegation [November 23, 2001]

2000: Officer Aleem Abdullah [Benton Harbor PD] was charged with having sex with an underage girl while on duty. But a jury acquitted him.

2001: Nikkita Abdullah [wife of Officer Aleem Abdullah] is placed on probation for a domestic violence charge.

November 21, 2001: Nikkita Abdullah [wife of Officer Aleem Abdullah] was charged with assault and battery against Verna McGruder, while on probation for domestic violence.

November 23, 2001: An alteraction takes place between Nikkita and Officer Abdullah. Nikkita files a domestic violence complaint against her husband / Officer Abdullah. Berrien County SD is unable to determine who the instigator was, therefore the prosecutor did not file charges.

Patrolman may face charges
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 12:00 am
Updated: 4:53 pm, Tue Nov 15, 2011.
The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR -- A Benton Harbor police patrolman is facing a domestic violence complaint stemming from an alleged incident Friday, officials said Monday.

Berrien County Prosecutor James Cherry said he will review a sheriff's department report on Aleem Abdullah. Sheriff's Chief Deputy William Marx reported the department is investigating the complaint filed by Abdullah's wife, Nikkita. The sheriff's department was asked by Benton Harbor police to handle the investigation because Abdullah is one of its officers.

Marx released no details about the incident, other than it occurred at 6:08 p.m. at 1252 Bishop St., Benton Harbor, and no arrests were made.

Cherry said he received the report minutes before 5 p.m. Monday and had not yet read it. He said he probably would make a decision Wednesday whether to press charges in the incident.

Abdullah was charged last year with having sex with an underage girl while on duty. But a jury acquitted him.

Benton Harbor cop not guilty of sex charges

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2000 12:00 am
By CAROL KNAPP / H-P Staff Writer
The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH -- A jubilant Aleem Abdullah clasped his hands high above his head as though giving thanks to a higher power Thursday after a Berrien Trial Court jury found him not guilty of having sex with an underage girl.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated a little over two hours before returning a verdict.

Abdullah said he never doubted the verdict would be in his favor "because I'm innocent and I was confident the truth would bear that out."

His attorney, Tat Parish of Watervliet, said the best piece of evidence corroborating Abdullah's assertion of innocence was a videotape from the Target Store in Benton Township that shows Abdullah purchasing a bedspread.

It appears to be the same comforter his teen-age accuser said was on the bed at his Bishop Street home in December when she claimed the two had sex. The tape was made March 18, and the store also provided a receipt showing the purchase on that date.

"That's the reason you have trials and defense," said Parish. "Often times if you don't look at things in a critical way you don't see the truth. If you only looked at what the girl had to say, you might have presumed Aleem was guilty, but sometimes the truth comes out in extreme ways."

The girl claimed she had sex with Abdullah two times when she was 15. She claimed a third encounter took place in a police vehicle in January, but no criminal charge resulted from that allegation because by then she had turned 16, the legal age of consent.

The trial in Judge John Fields' courtroom lasted seven days. Abdullah was acquitted of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

A juror who did not wish to give his name said the girl was not a good witness.

"She kept changing her story. She just wasn't believable," he said. "There wasn't any physical evidence against the defendant, and the prosecution didn't present a strong case."

Abdullah said he felt good about the decision and said he was looking forward to going back to work.

"This unfortunate incident is not going to make me want to stop serving the community I belong to," he said. "I don't ever want to face the judicial system on that side again.

"I was fortunate that Mr. Parish was able to provide me with a good defense, but I think being assertive and using my knowledge as a police officer, I was also able to help myself."

Abdullah, on the Benton Harbor department for nearly five years, said he planned to be more diligent about keeping his paperwork in line.

"From now on I'm going to be more careful about crossing all my t's and dotting all my i's," he said.

According to his testimony, Abdullah gave the girl a ride home on the night she claimed the two first had sex. He said he radioed a dispatcher to report what he was doing and also claimed he wrote down information about the incident, but later threw out the paper in accordance with department practice.

The officer's daily log sheets for key days could not be found, but Abdullah testified that was not unusual for the department.

Benton Harbor Police Chief Douglas Wright said he expected that Abdullah would be reinstated.

"I instructed him to be in my office Monday morning to go over the preliminaries, to make sure he has all his equipment and so forth," Wright said.


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