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South Boston police lieutenant charged with embezzlement

South Boston News
South Boston Police Lieutenant Tiffaney Bratton receiving the 2020 Police Officer of the Year award from former town chief Jim Binner.
SoVaNow.com / September 22, 2021
South Boston Police Lt. Tiffaney Bratton, who was promoted in May to oversee the department’s investigations division, has been arrested and charged with felony embezzlement in connection with alleged theft from the police station evidence room and inventory.

Bratton, 49, was booked Tuesday night at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax and released on $2,000 unsecured bond after being arrested earlier in the day without incident. The probe is being conducted the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office.

State Police initiated the investigation in August at the request of South Boston Police Chief Bryan Young after discrepancies were found in the SBPD evidence room and inventory in late July. Bratton was charged with one count of felony embezzlement in excess of $1,000, and one felony count of embezzlement by an officer of public funds.

Reached for comment Wednesday, Young said the discrepancies arose during an audit of the department’s evidence handling procedures, undertaken as part of an effort by the SBPD to gain state accreditation. “It was internal, not anything external,” he said. “We hold ourselves to be extremely accountable and can’t tolerate these kinds of issues.”

The charges against Bratton were confirmed Wednesday by Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller. She said evidence in the case has been turned over to a Lynchburg Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, who has been named as special prosecutor.

Young said he placed Bratton on paid administrative leave on Aug. 16 pending the results of the State Police investigation. Bratton was ordered at that time to hand over her badge, vehicle and firearm, he said. Her employment with the SBPD was terminated late Wednesday afternoon, following her arrest a day earlier.

Young said his prior decision to place Bratton on paid leave stemmed from the ongoing nature of the State Police probe. “Traditionally, if it’s not a clear-cut and very definitive issue, usually the agency tends to lean towards paid leave until they are confident in the findings.

“Unfortunately, I have encountered situations like this,” said Young, but “I can say this incident personally has probably impacted me greater than previous ones. I still have to understand that there are a lot of positive things that Tiffaney has been part of [with the department], that have made a very positive impact on the community.

“We as a department are certainly saddened by this news,” he said.

Young said he has only a partial understanding of the evidence that the Bureau of Criminal Investigations has compiled in the case. When asked if the alleged theft by Bratton involved stolen currency, he replied, “There is currency in our evidence room.” Other items in the SBPD evidence room include drug paraphernalia, electronic devices, firearms and other items that are typically introduced in court as part of criminal prosecutions.

Young declined to say if the evidence against Bratton includes surveillance video taken from inside the evidence room.

Bratton’s downfall comes less than five months after she was promoted to lieutenant and placed in charge of the SBPD investigations division as part of a departmental reorganization led by Young, who came to South Boston from his post as acting chief of the Virginia Conservation Police in Richmond.

In 2020, Bratton was honored as South Boston Officer of the Year by then-police chief Jim Binner. Under Young, Bratton became the first African-American female officer to ascend to the command ranks of the South Boston Police Department.

Bratton is the second local law enforcement officer to be accused of embezzlement in recent weeks. Todd Moser, former county chief animal warden and a deputized member of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, resigned Sept. 13 after it was revealed he is under investigation by Virginia State Police for embezzlement. That revelation was contained in an email that Halifax County Administrator Scott Simpson sent to members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 8. In the email, Simpson wrote that Moser has admitted to embezzling from the county animal shelter. Moser has declined public comment, and he has not been charged.

Young said he is concerned about the impact the accusations involving Bratton and Moser may have on public perceptions of local law enforcement, and said he shares in any sense of disappointment.

“We’re probably more disappointed than anybody else because we know the community holds us to a high standard [of conduct],” he said. “I don’t think anyone holds us to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.”

Young said embezzlement by police officers is rare but any such cases can damage public perceptions of law enforcement. However, he said he believes local citizens will not let the allegations diminish their support for the police department. “I can’t speak for Sheriff [Fred] Clark here, but we are fortunate to have great support in Halifax County and South Boston,” he said.

“As a department we are certainly saddened by this news. Tiffaney was an integral part of our department and would be a large part of that moving forward. Myself and the employees here are certainly concerned for her well-being, as well as being concerned about the possible impact of how the community supports what we do.”

Young said the investigations work by the SBPD is moving forward and that Bratton’s absence since mid-August has not affected ongoing probes. However, “it’s certainly had an impact for our knowledge base here and on our staffing.

“We’re really fortunate to have a very professional, intelligent and knowledgeable team” of officers working in investigations, he said.

Prior to becoming lieutenant in charge of the investigations branch, Bratton was an SBPD investigator with a hand in the department’s most high-profile cases. She was promoted to investigator in 2019 after previously serving as a patrol sergeant, a rank she attained in 2015. She began with the SBPD in 2006 as a patrol officer.

Her career has not been without controversy. In May 2013, Bratton was the ranking officer at the scene when Linwood Lambert of Richmond was tasered numerous times by three South Boston officers outside of the Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital ER. Lambert, who was handcuffed and in a prone position on the ground as officers including Bratton used tasers to subdue him, died that morning after being taken to the county jail. No officers were charged in the incident and a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Lambert’s family against the department and town was settled out of court with no admission of wrongdoing by police.

More recently, Bratton’s testimony in a child pornography case was called into question by the lawyer for a defendant who produced home video footage of his interactions with Bratton and other officers on the day of his arrest. Portions of the video contradicted court testimony that Bratton offered in the case. The defendant, Jerry Remines of South Boston, was convicted on 11 counts of possession of child pornography and computer trespass and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The embezzlement charges against Bratton carry the potential for substantial jail time if proven. Embezzlement of public funds by an officer is a Class 4 felony carrying a punishment of between two and 10 years in prison.

A preliminary hearing in Bratton’s case has been rescheduled for Oct. 28 in Halifax County General District Court.

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School of Larry Stovall

Comments

I think the track record speaks for itself. Oakes, Noblin, Moser, Bratton. If you trust law enforcement in Halifax County you are blind.

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Are you kidding me? Surely, anyone who knows Lieutenant Bratton, knows this is bullshit. And Chief Young, clearly you do not know the reputation of your law enforcement or the reputation of Halifax County's law enforcement as a whole, if you think this will damage it. The ruined reputation precedes this BS of a story. You all should be ASHAMED, but I know you are not. And anyone believing this "less than credible" journalistic attempt at a story, I have no words for you.

And don't compare Lieutenant Bratton to those men--there is no comparison!!!

Black people in Halifax County, it's time for you to stop being Uncle Toms and Tobies and show some unity and strength. Those white people down there, look-out for each other and cover each other's dirt while you all sit in your corners and allow their BS. WAKE UP NOW!!!

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Black officer gets caught stealing. Gets fired and goes to jail immediately.
Moser admits he’s been stealing from county he gets put on administrative leave gets vacation pay comp time to fill the void then five days later allowed to resign by white county administrator now he can collect retirement benefits which were contributed to by taxpayers. He’s rewarded for stealing our funds. Charge the county administrator and supervisors with mishandling of county funds. Racism at its best. Congratulations Mr. Moser good job. You deserve more.

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The article said she had been on paid administrative leave since August 16th. Thats a little more than a month.

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Why difference in treatment of Moser and Britton? One is rewarded with additional county funds and other is fired and arrested! Privilege exists here? I see racism does.
This man admitted to stealing and is given more of taxpayers money? Why? Fire the county administrator and all of Supervisors who agreed to this. Don’t re-elect them in November.

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Well isn't this just par for the course for South Boston / Halifax County. I SURE hope there is equal punishment for Moser since he is a sworn officer of the law who admitted embezzlement. He should be subject to the following as well: "Embezzlement of public funds by an officer is a Class 4 felony carrying a punishment of between two and 10 years in prison." Let's hope the Judge in these cases rule based on the crime and not the color of the defendant's skin color. Moser is one of the good ole boys and my guess is he will get the minimum punishment while Ms. Bratton will be made an example of and get the maximum. I pray that does not happen but there has been a long standing racist history in Halifax County. That confederate solder statue still stands on the Courthouse grounds looking on with a smile, so sad but true. Real change is needed now!

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Cops in this county have always been crooks, I remember when I was a kid, so bo police and county sheriff would pull up to the AP ( the museum now) and pick up bags of dog food etc an put in back of the patrol car. I saw this myself. This is why there is no respect for cops. Different treatment. A person gets a ticket, better not back talk the cop. There are good ones but the good ones need to take in account perception when they deal with the public. They don't need to yell etc at people. As for the difference I don't think it is race. Moser is still under investigation, not arrested yet, she was arrested.

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As they say Karma is a B****. When you are a crooked cop it eventually comes out. She has gotten away with this for far to long. Read the story her investigation started long before the other persons did. She was given paid leave off for a month. Tiffany Bratton has been caught lying in court with video footage to prove it. She was caught lying on reports she signed off on. She even admitted in court that her report was false to cover up another state police wrong doing. She was caught lying to investigators in the Lambert case. Halifax commonwealth attorneys have turned the other cheek on her to many times. They need to reopen all her cases. Karma has finally caught up with her. So please she is treated fair. Do not make this a black and whit thing. She will get exactly what she deserves.

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A person's sins have a way of catching up with them. After that incident with the man who lost his life at her hands. She got what she deserves.

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RUFF…..RUFF Slick says. Moser should have been fired. The Virginia State Police has an ongoing investigation. Moser was investigated. Facts about the investigation have been sealed in The Circuit Court. But the state police investigator visited the county administrator and briefed him about the investigation. Moser then met with the county administrator and admitted his involvement, then resigned his position. He has no path forward with the county. At that point he should have been fired!

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Finally, someone brings her down. This woman has used her position to manipulate the system to benefit herself all around. She got away with murder that was clearly videoed shown across the U.S. and never held responsible for the human life that she took. She has been allowed to work with our kids in the school system as well as patrol the streets of our community as a known criminal. Whether she is black, white, purple or whatever wrong is wrong and justice needs to be served. How can you proudly put on a uniform to serve and protect your fellow citizens when your only motive is to lie, defraud, and worst of all kill your fellow citizens. Time and time again our county has turned a blind eye to this woman who clearly has no intention in following the laws that she has sworn to uphold. She should wear her orange suit and be held accountable for her actions.

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Come on people how much does one person have to do right in the public's face before she is held accountable? She murdered on camera, lied under oath, and stole from the police department's evidence lab. Is this what justice is in our community that one person is above the law? Bratton is not above the law, she should be held accountable and not given another slap on the wrist.

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She has lied under oath many of times. Wrote false reports and the lies are on video footage and her body cam. The judge choose to ignore it because she stated that she has to work with the police she can not go against them. the same was on video with the killing of Lambert. I blame our judicial system like the judge and the Commonwealth Attorneys Office. Karma is working it's way around.

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some on here making this a racial issue as if they suggest stealing is natural to blacks. How condescending. Theft is theft. She not only was in charge the night that they killed the mentally unstable black man, they promoted her afterwards. She was caught with her hand in the cookie jar=evidence room. Good on the chief for SBI investigation. Her role as a LT and the evidence room requires huge responsibility and following chain of custody. Let's see the results of the investigation. Moser should have been fired and kept from LE long ago due to the questionable circumstances of his killing of a suspect when he was a deputy. They need to look at ALL of teh county fair money to insure others who ARE involved get caught.

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Moser and Britton doing the same thing. He's not charged. She's charged. What is the difference in the two of them? This is why racial tones are applied. Corruption in this county runs deep and far. And we wonder why kids disrespect authority?

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we can use FBI crime stats by race we can talk about HCHS homecoming black on black fights,4 of them at game&parking; lot. we see news reports from last week of black/black shootings at football games and county fairs, Chiraq, Baltimore. we can talk about why the media refused to admit Bratton's race when Lambert was killed by a Sobopd's lack of use of force policy and treatment of a tasing victim.The biggestissue here is SBI's investigation is ongoing for Moser who undoubtedly receive a much longer sentence, cause he's white, and Braxton will receive a lighter sentence cause she's black. I think both who destroyed public trust , should receive the most stringent sentence cause of their jobs, race/skin color be damned. In Moser's case, others knew were involved which is why its taking longer 4 actual charges. It might involve multiple people- think Board of Supervisors & elected officials. The largest issue in Moser's case is how did Halifax county finance miss this for years?

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Lol yeah right after we talk about all the whyte mass shootings. Hey what color were 99% of scmucks who went to the capitol? I agee tho these 2 crooks need to be held fully accountable to the fullest.

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Moser is still under INVESTIGATION. Who the crap believes the county administrator anyway? Moser has remained silent, as he should. The county ran to the newspaper to get the school vote, which was not even on the agenda until Moser resigned. The lady from SOBO was served an arrest warrant. Race has not a damn thing to do with either case.


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