Carlton Moore, formerly an officer with the Memphis Police Department, pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court in Memphis, Tenn., to three counts of violating civil rights for stealing money from motorists while acting under color of law. Moore faces up to three years in prison.
Moore admitted that on March 1 and March 14, 2008, and again on May 4, 2009, he surreptitiously stole cash from three Latino drivers he pulled over while on duty as a Memphis police officer. During these stops, Moore ordered the victims out of their vehicles, patted them down and removed personal items from them during the search. He then stole money from the victims before returning their personal items and releasing them.
"Police officers who abuse their authority for personal gain will be vigorously prosecuted," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Our laws give every American a fundamental right not to be victimized by rogue police officers."
"Officer Moore dishonored his badge and his fellow officers when he chose to steal from innocent immigrants during traffic stops. Protecting the rights of every person from abuse committed by public officials is of the highest priority of this office," said Larry Laurenzi, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
"Our citizens have a right to ethical treatment from all law enforcement officers and we, as civil servants, must never forget that we have sworn an oath to serve and protect them," said My Harrison, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Memphis Field Office.
"We have a responsibility to our citizens, visitors and the outstanding members of the Memphis Police Department. We will not tolerate those who dishonor our badge by criminal activity. Mr. Moore admitted to robbing Hispanic members of our community while on-duty, in uniform and in a marked squad car," said Larry A. Godwin, Director of the Memphis Police Department. "After initiating this investigation, we worked in conjunction with the FBI to capture Moore as he committed the crime. We police our own and criminals wearing our badge will be aggressively pursued just as any other criminal in Memphis."
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights prosecutions.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Memphis Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Memphis and Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti from the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.