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Originally published Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 4:48 PM

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Winnfield police chief guilty of hindering arrest

Winnfield Police Chief Johnnie Ray Carpenter was convicted Thursday of interfering with the arrest of a woman wanted for bank fraud in Washington state, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said.

The Associated Press

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ALEXANDRIA, La. —

Winnfield Police Chief Johnnie Ray Carpenter was convicted Thursday of interfering with the arrest of a woman wanted for bank fraud in Washington state, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said.

Carpenter could get up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine at sentencing scheduled July 27 before U. S. Magistrate Judge James D. Kirk, the U.S. attorney said in a statement.

Two members of the law enforcement task force that arrested Porcia Sanders on Aug. 27, 2009, testified Wednesday that Carpenter whipped a crowd into an angry mob because he was upset that federal and state agents hadn't notified him beforehand of plans to arrest two fugitives in his town.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Glenn Belgard testified that he hadn't told Carpenter because he thought the chief might tip off the suspects. Louisiana State Police had investigated allegations that Carpenter was running drugs, Belgard testified.

Finley said the crowd gathered after officers converged on Sanders' apartment, knocked on the door and arrested Sanders, and several men shouted to "get the chief."

"A male later identified as Carpenter emerged from the crowd and demanded to know 'why are these folks being arrested,'" she said. "He never identified himself, nor did he have any badge or markings of any type on his person. He yelled for the crowd to follow him, and the crowd pushed forward around the arrest team."

Carpenter ignored Belgard's repeated orders to move away, "and he continued to yell over Belgard's commands," Finley said.

"Later on that same day, Carpenter showed up at the police station and got into a shouting match with the deputy about the arrest and activities related to their earlier exchange," she said.

Carpenter's trial took two days from jury selection to conviction. The jury took two hours to convict, Finley said.

Sanders made a sealed guilty plea last year in Seattle to bank fraud totaling about $2,600 and was sentenced to time served. According to Finley, Sanders allegedly was affiliated with a violent gang in Seattle.

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