Crime & Courts

Former Wichita police officer pleads guilty to gambling ring charges

Former Wichita police Officer Bruce Mackey pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge related to an illegal gambling ring in Wichita.
Former Wichita police Officer Bruce Mackey pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge related to an illegal gambling ring in Wichita.

A former Wichita police officer pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to outing an undercover officer at an illegal poker game in Wichita.

It is the latest in a string of court battles for Bruce Mackey, who is also facing felony and misdemeanor charges in Sedgwick County and is being sued by a woman whose husband was shot by Wichita police in 2014.

As part of Mackey’s plea, he admitted that while he was a Wichita police officer he knew, and did not report, people who were conducting an illegal gambling business in Wichita. During a game in February 2014, Mackey told an organizer of the poker game that one of the gamblers was an undercover Wichita police officer, court documents said.

The string of legal troubles for Mackey date back to his time as an officer with the Wichita Police Department and continued after he left the department in January.

In October, Mackey was indicted on federal charges related to the gambling ring. At the time, Mackey’s identity was not made public, and he was still an employee of the Wichita Police Department. The day the indictment was made public — Jan. 18 — Mackey resigned, Wichita police Chief Gordan Ramsay said at the time.

Besides the gambling probe, Mackey faces more-recent charges.

‘When it rains, it pours’

Around 11 p.m. on July 4, Goddard police responded to a call at Mackey’s home. He was arrested and booked into Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of felony criminal threat and domestic battery, according to a police report. What happened isn’t clear.

Mackey, 46, is accused of battering and making a criminal threat against his 46-year-old wife and 25-year-old stepson, the police report says.

The police report says Mackey used a “personal weapon,” which could include hands, fists, feet or other parts of the body, to harm someone.

Mackey is also accused of making a criminal threat against a 22-year-old woman who is listed as an acquaintance.

Mackey’s wife’s injuries are listed on the report as “N,” which means none. His stepson’s injuries are listed as minor.

Because of Mackey’s arrest, federal prosecutors sought to revoke his bond in the gambling case. One condition of Mackey’s release while awaiting trial on the federal charges was that he must not violate federal, state, or local laws.

Mackey is accused of three felonies for criminal threat and two misdemeanors for domestic battery in Kansas in the July 4 incident.

Philip White, Mackey’s attorney, spoke on behalf of Mackey at the revocation hearing and said he would not speak to the “specific substance” of the case because a reporter from The Wichita Eagle was present.

White said Mackey has been facing a “barrage of stress factors that the normal person wouldn’t have thrown at them,” including legal trouble he’s been facing recently.

“When it rains, it pours,” Magistrate Judge Gwynne E. Birzer said of Mackey’s string of legal troubles. She said she understands the difficulty of his position, and that bad things can happen to good people, but he has “marshalled others through this system.” And now he, too, must go through the court system, Birzer said.

A ‘pattern of behavior’

James Thompson, a civil rights attorney and congressional candidate from Wichita, said from what he knows about Mackey, these newest charges “do not surprise” him.

Thompson is representing Michlle Richard in a $5 million lawsuit against the city of Wichita and some police officers, including Mackey, for a 2014 police shooting of Michlle’s husband, Stacy.

“It does not surprise me and I do think it shows a pattern of behavior on his part,” Thompson said.

According to the lawsuit, Mackey and other officers showed up on a call in south Wichita, near 31st and Meridian.

Stacy Richard was inside his home, armed with a gun, and was threatening to kill himself. His wife told his therapist, who told the police.

Within 5 minutes, Mackey and other officers had entered the man’s house and fired 40 rounds at him, hitting him with 16 of those shots, after he pointed the gun at the officers. Richard did not fire a shot, court documents say.

Richard survived the injuries and months later hanged himself in his garage. If Mackey hadn’t made the call to go inside the home before calling SWAT or a negotiator, the lawsuit says, Richard would still be alive today.

Sentencing for Mackey’s federal crime is set for Oct. 26. He faces a penalty of up to three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. His next appearance in Sedgwick County District Court is set for Sept. 6.

Chance Swaim: 316-269-6752, byChanceSwaim
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