Prattville man key to breaking officer arrest case

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Jose Perez of Prattville claims he is the man who broke the case wide open involving a Montgomery police officer arrested for allegedly stealing money from the Hispanic community.

Montgomery police would not confirm or deny whether Perez was what they called the 'third source' in Wednesday's news conference.

"They came and talked to me and told me what was going on," Perez said.

Perez says he often works for area police departments as an interpreter and the 4 Hispanic victims first complained to him first about the allegations against Montgomery police officer Philip T. Moultrie.

Perez says at first they were afraid to talk about what Moultrie had allegedly done.

"I told them this is America. No need to be afraid like back home where cops can do whatever they want," said Perez.

So what happened?

Perez says according to the victims Officer Moultrie pulled over the 4 drivers off Highway 231 South beginning in mid-March.

"They got searched and he took out their wallets.. took their money and handed them back their wallets. For some we're talking about thousands of dollars and from another hundreds of dollars," said Perez.

After hearing the allegations, Mr. Perez then reported the allegations to Montgomery police. While investigators were very careful about the details of the alleged crimes, they did release this observation.

"At this point in the investigation,  Mr. Moultrie did not act in concert with any other officers in this case," said Montgomery Police Captain Keith Barnett.

That matches the story Perez says he was told.

"He (Moultrie) was always by himself," said Perez.

Jose Perez says he would do it all over again, especially in light of the fact that Montgomery investigators acted so quickly.

"I am very pleased with the way they handled this," said Perez.

"This case shows the great strides the Culture Unit has made in improving relations with the Hispanic community," said Captain Barnett.

After being confronted with the charges Wednesday morning, Philip Moultrie turned in his resignation which was quickly accepted by Chief Art Baylor.

The 28-year old former policeman had his first court appearance in Montgomery Thursday afternoon, officially informed of the charges against him, 4 counts of first degree theft of property.

In addition to facing as much as 20-years in prison if he's convicted, Philip Moultrie could also face up to $30,000 in fines.

As of this writing Moultrie remains in the Montgomery County Jail on a $120,000 bond.

Perez tells WSFA 12 News he is not aware of any additional victims.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.