Lawrenceville Police Detective Tim Ashley remains on the force despite his latest botched investigation that landed an innocent man behind bars for three months, according to a report by CBS Atlanta.
Twenty-seven-year-old Carlos Orlando Fairley was in his hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi when he was apprehended at gunpoint by local authorities there for allegedly committing an armed robbery at a Lawrenceville apartment complex on Sept. 11, 2011.
There was just one problem – It wasn’t Fairley.
The two victims from the incident each testified that the gunman had tattoos on his face, across his eyes and went by the name “C-Lo.”
Fairley, who had also gone by the same nickname, was in Mississippi at the time of the robbery and awaiting word from the Transportation Security Administration about a job.
“I got a letter back three weeks later and it said I was wanted for two counts of armed robbery in Gwinnett County,” Fairley said.
Fairley said he wasn’t even in Georgia at the time of the crime and wasted no time in calling Lawrenceville police to let them know they had the wrong guy.
“I got in touch with Detective Tim Ashley. I said, ‘Officer, there must be some kind of big misunderstanding. I’ve been in Mississippi for the last 9 years, I hadn’t even been to Georgia,’ ” Fairley said.
But Detective Ashley remained convinced he had his man, even though Fairley clearly has no facial tattoos.
Fairley was nonetheless arrested and held in a Mississippi jail until extradited to Georgia three weeks later.
His mother, Juanita Fairley, jumped into action to prove her son’s innocence, collecting phone records, witness statements and video that proved he was in Mississippi at the time of the crime.
“I can honestly say I have never seen a less competent job of police investigation as by this detective,” said Mark Bullman, a former cop and Fairley’s attorney.
More disturbing still was the news that this wasn’t the only time Ashley had wrongfully imprisoned an innocent person.
Convenience store owner Ann Jaipersaud was eventually locked up after calling the police because she needed help with a rowdy customer.
She offered to show police the video surveillance camera in her store, only to be berated and then arrested after not knowing how to work it.
Jaipersaud was awarded a $137,000 federal judgment last month after jurors determined Ashley threw her in jail illegally.
“That person is dangerous, he can hurt somebody,” she said. “Without a cause, I was in jail.”
Lawrenceville Police Chief Randy Johnson declined comment to the TV station, other than affirming that Ashley remains on the police force.
Fairley was finally released when the district attorney asked that a new picture be shown to the victims. Not only did they not identify Fairley, one of them identified someone else.
The crime would have been punishable by 20 years in prison. No other arrests have been made in the case.