WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today announced that Adam Gagnier, a former officer with the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department, was sentenced by a federal judge to 72 months imprisonment on civil rights and mail fraud charges.
Gagnier pleaded guilty on December 14, 2005, to involvement in a conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights and to willfully using his position as a police officer to steal money during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tenn. He also pleaded guilty to committing mail fraud by filing false claims based on false police reports.
“It is appalling that a police officer would engage in a scheme to steal from those he has vowed to protect,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “No one is above the law and the Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the criminal civil rights laws that the vast majority of law enforcement officers work tirelessly to uphold and enforce.”
Gagnier pleaded guilty to one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 241, which makes it unlawful to conspire to deprive individuals of their civil rights, and one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1341, which makes it unlawful to use the Postal Service in the execution of a scheme to defraud.
Gagnier and his partner, former Memphis police officer James Fetter, agreed to steal money from individuals they stopped for traffic violations. On February 25, 2004, he and Fetter stopped LaQuan Neil and Latoya Greer, and without any law enforcement justification, stole $3,000 from them, and kept that money for personal gain. Gagnier also defrauded Assurant Solutions of $5,323.19 by submitting an insurance claim containing false police reports and receipts indicating that he had been robbed.
In related matters, on May 22, 2006, former Memphis police officer James Fetter pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights, and on May 31, 2006, former Memphis police officer Jennifer Vickery, another former partner of Gagnier’s, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison after she pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, including prosecution of those law enforcement officials who engage in misconduct. In fact, since FY 2001, the Division has convicted 30 percent more defendants in official misconduct prosecutions than in the preceding five fiscal years. So far in fiscal year 2006 alone, the Division has convicted 40 of the 42 defendants charged with color of law violations.