A Chester police officer has been charged with giving a department Taser to a Broomall man accused of posing as a New York Times reporter and a Good Morning America producer, and spreading a racially inflammatory false news report, Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland said Wednesday.
Donald Jackson Jr., a 16-year member of the Chester Police Department, allegedly gave the Taser to Nikolaos Hatziefstathiou, 25, who was charged last month with doctoring an email from a Delaware County employee to add racial epithets and publishing it in a fraudulent news story. It was revealed in that case that Hatziefstathiou allegedly was in possession of a Taser that had been missing from a local police department.
Jackson, 44, was charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft by receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy to possession of an offensive weapon, all misdemeanors. Jackson is free on $20,000 unsecured bail.
During the Hatziefstathiou investigation, a search warrant was executed in June at his Broomall home, and the Taser was uncovered along with a mobile phone allegedly belonging to him.
Investigators recovered text messages from January in which Hatziefstathiou asked Jackson if could “borrow” a Taser, and Jackson replied that he had one, Copeland said.
“You can’t tell anyone where you got it, though,” Jackson allegedly replied.
In April, Jackson allegedly texted a follow-up to Hatziefstathiou: “How did you make out with the Taser?”
In a reply, Hatziefstathiou wrote: “Didn’t use it luckily lmao."
Copeland noted that a firing log from the Taser showed that it was discharged in June.
When confronted with the text messages, Jackson admitted to taking the Taser from the department and giving it to Hatziefstathiou, Copeland said.
Besides the pending criminal case, Hatziefstathiou previously was convicted in a misdemeanor case of harassment and making a false report.