PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Former East Washington Police Chief Donald Solomon was sentenced to 11 years in jail for violations of the federal Hobbs Act.
FBI surveillance tape helped put him there.
One of those tapes captured Solomon saying, “I’m the best cop money can buy.”
That was a conversation between an informant and Solomon about protecting a drug deal in 2011.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton argued in person for a stern sentence at Friday’s hearing, and says the “best cop money can buy” reference stuck with investigators.
“Well, that’s the line that stands out above all others,” said Hickton. “I made a point in court today that that line was not retrieved from him. He volunteered that line. And there were several other points in the audio and video recordings where it was clear that he was voluntarily engaging in this behavior. There was another line that captured some attention where he was asked if he wanted to continue in this type of behavior and he said ‘hell yeah.’”
Federal investigators also developed surveillance of Solomon as chief actually protecting drug deals as well as threatening to take out personal vendettas against a former girlfriend.
“If she came to my apartment I got body bags in my apartment, so put her in a body bag, wait till it was night, put her in the car. Take her someplace, drop her off,” Solomon is quoted as saying on one of the recordings.
The defense argued that Solomon should be given credit for his work as a paramedic and police officer for 38 years without any criminal activity. He was.
His 11-year sentence, imposed by Judge Joi Flowers Conti, is at the lower end of the term prescribed in the sentencing guidelines.
On Thursday night, Solomon attended high school graduation for one of his sons. Today in court, he apologized to both his friends in law enforcement, and his children, because in his words, “They’re the ones I’ve hurt the most.”