Grand jury charges Kentwood police chief with malfeasance

A Tangipahoa Parish grand jury indicted Kentwood Police Chief Gregory Newton on Friday on charges of malfeasance in office and obstruction of justice by tampering with about $2,000 that went missing from evidence in a burglary case last year.

Each count carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000, said Amanda Larkins, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, which took over the case after 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux recused himself.

State Police detectives received a citizen complaint in December alleging that about $2,000 had been misappropriated by the Kentwood Police Department after Newton and another officer had driven to Pike County, Miss., to collect about $11,000 from authorities who had confiscated the money from two juveniles accused of stealing it from a Kentwood home.

About $9,000 was returned to the home’s owner, but the rest was unaccounted for, said Kurt Wall, director of the criminal division of the Attorney General’s Office.

“It’s clear through the documentation that a particular amount of the money was signed over to them,” Wall said Friday.

“Subsequently, much of that money is now unaccounted for,” he said.

Newton’s arraignment is set for Sept. 19, Wall said.

Attempts to reach Newton on Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.