Officer losing rank for defending convict

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A high-ranking Indianapolis police officer is being stripped of his rank for writing a letter defending a man convicted of rape.

Michael Jefferson had been a major who served in the command staffs of current police Chief Bryan Roach and his predecessor.

He wrote a letter asking a judge for lenience when sentencing 58-year-old Lance Fleming, who was convicted in October of rape and attempted rape.

Jefferson’s letter also described as “questionable” the case against Fleming, who was sentenced to five years.

Assistant Chief Randal Taylor calls the letter inappropriate, saying it sent the wrong message to the woman who was raped.

Taylor tells The Indianapolis Star that Jefferson is being stripped of his appointed rank Friday and returned to the rank of lieutenant with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

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