Gwen Filosa of the Times Picayune reports the following on NOLA.com :
Former New Orleans police officer Desmond Shorty pleaded guilty to theft of less than $300 on Tuesday, admitting that he swiped a flashy wristwatch while on a service call in August 2009.
Shorty, 25, was originally charged with felony theft of more than $500 because the stolen watch was a Joe Rodeo Master Series timepiece valued at $3,500. Police found the watch inside Shorty’s car after its owner complained to NOPD that the officer who booked him with domestic assault on his girlfriend also stole his watch.
But in a plea bargain with District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office, Shorty pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft, ending a case that ended Shorty’s brief tenure as a police officer.
Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson sentenced Shorty to six months in jail, but suspended all but eight weekends, which Shorty must serve within the next three months.
Shorty will remain on “intensive” probation for three months, and must pay $500 to the judicial expense fund.
If he completes probation, Shorty can ask the judge to dismiss his conviction, under the Louisiana law under which he was allowed to plead guilty. The dismissal would have the same effect as an acquittal.
Shorty, who joined the NOPD in January 2007 yet remained a police recruit, resigned after he was questioned by NOPD officers in September 2009, just weeks after he made off with the watch while investigating a report of a domestic dispute at an eastern New Orleans home.
NOPD kept Shorty on the payroll and behind a badge for 2 1/2 years despite allegations of domestic battery and public intoxication.
Mervin Ellis, 30, helped police track down the theft of his watch, saying that he remembered the officer’s last name — Shorty — from his uniform’s nametag and that his girlfriend later took a cell phone picture of Shorty sporting the watch at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino.
Ellis was booked with domestic assault, but prosecutors refused charges three months later.
While on the police force, Shorty had been in the six-month Professional Performance Enhancement Program, designed to closely monitor officers with a high number of complaints or history of discipline issues.