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Fayetteville police officer facing drug charges after CrimeStoppers tip

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A Fayetteville police officer has been charged with drug offenses after an anonymous CrimeStoppers tip, according to a news release.

The CrimeStoppers tip was received on Oct. 6 by the Fayetteville Police Department, the release said.

Officer Izreal Gear-Johnson, 23, was charged by the Narcotics Vice Suppression Unit and faces state charges. The FBI is reviewing the case to determine if federal charges will be filed, the release said.

Gear-Johnson is charged with two counts of willfully failing to discharge duties; common-law obstruction of justice; conspiracy; and maintaining a dwelling to keep controlled substances. He was placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the internal investigation, which is separate from the criminal investigation, the release said. 

“It is important that the Fayetteville Police Department maintains the highest of standards for our residents, and this arrest is an example of how we continue to maintain that promise to them,” Police Chief Kemberle Braden said on Tuesday evening. “One of my goals as the chief of police is to release all the information I have available to the public without hindering an investigation.”

The department held a news conference Tuesday evening to address the arrest.

Gear-Johnson was hired in June 2021 and attended the local police academy. He was sworn in as a patrol officer in June 2022.

“He violated his oath as a police officer by conspiring with other individuals who were involved in criminal activity,” the news release said. 

In a letter to police officers, Braden wrote: “One of the most difficult realities that we face as law enforcement professionals is discovering that one of our own has eroded the trust of the community they serve as well as the men and women they serve alongside. When we take our oath of office, we commit to upholding the laws in which we are entrusted.

“When someone violates that oath, we have to respond swiftly and address any allegations that arise,” Braden wrote. “Transparency is extremely important to me, as well as to our community.”

He then detailed the charges against Gear-Johnson.

“The actions of one officer will undoubtedly affect how the department is perceived,” Braden continued. “It is incumbent upon us to restore and maintain the relationships that we have cultivated throughout our community.”

He concluded: “… Know that you are empowered even when it affects someone who wears the same badge. We have to be willing to come forward and address issues when the wrongs outweigh the weight of the profession.”

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Fayetteville, police, crime, Gear-Johnson, drugs

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