PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A former Pittsburgh Police homicide detective involved in numerous criminal investigations is herself facing criminal charges.
Veteran detective Margaret “Peg” Sherwood, 51, had more than 25 years with the Pittsburgh Police Department before she retired in June 2017.
Following a grand jury investigation, the state Attorney General’s office says Sherwood is facing nine charges, including filing a false police report, tampering with evidence and writing a false police report.
In 2015, she left the Homicide Unit and was reassigned to the Police Warrant Office after providing inadequate information to the District Attorney about how she administered a photo lineup of a potential homicide suspect.
The case that led to her transfer stemmed from the 2014 murder of Rahsheed Strader, who was found dead between two parked cars on Goettman Street with multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and head.
In the indictment just announced by the State Attorney General, it’s alleged that Sherwood “authored a false police report and gave false information to prosecutors in connection with the Straeder homicide investigation.”
Sherwood allegedly did not follow new procedures for witnesses to identify suspects through photographs.
Instead of showing witnesses the photos of possible suspects simultaneously, the new procedure called for the photos to be shown separately, one at a time.
And a grand jury investigation, which led to the charges against Sherwood, determined that she did not follow proper procedures in connection with the new photo ID process.
The indictment says she had previously written in a report that she did follow the new guidelines.
Though it appears the discrepancies were minor, the District Attorney’s Office said Sherwood’s actions damaged the integrity of the Straeder homicide investigation and it could not charge a second person suspected in the homicide.
Her attorney, Patrick Thomassey, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “I’ve known Peg Sherwood for decades, and I found her to be an outstanding, ethical police officer.”
He predicted there would be a lot of red faces when all is said and done in this case.
Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director, Wendell Hissrich, released the follow statement Friday afternoon:
“The City of Pittsburgh holds all of its officers to the highest possible standards, and fully cooperated with the Attorney General’s office on this investigation. Decisions regarding cases in which the detective was involved will be left to prosecutors and the courts.”
The District Attorney’s office says any case in which Sherwood had an involvement has gone through a thorough review and vetting process. At this point, they have not found any concerns that would impact the integrity of any current or previous prosecution.
Sherwood has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 20.
She joined the police force in 1989.