News and Press Releases

Former Memphis Police Department Officer Sentenced
to 18 Months for Civil Rights Violation

September 28, 2010

Memphis, TN - Former Memphis Police Officer Isaac White was sentenced today to 18 Months incarceration, two years supervised release, and a $4,000 fine announced Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, Larry Godwin, Director, Memphis Police Department, Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On November 25, 2009, White plead guilty to violating the civil rights of Pierre Jefferson in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, resulting in injury. At the Change of Plea hearing White admitted that in May, 2008 after handcuffing Jefferson he rammed Jefferson’s head into the corner of a building, as well as to striking Jefferson in the face several times causing the victim to fall to the ground. White also admitted to kicking Jefferson after he fell to the ground.

Mr. Stanton stated that police misconduct is a top priority of the United States Attorney’s office. “The citizens of the Western District of Tennessee are entitled to know that when dealing with a law enforcement officer the officer is there to protect them, not prey upon them. Accordingly, this office will pursue these cases vigorously.”

“Again this shows the partnership between the Memphis Police Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office. Illegal and criminal activity will not be tolerated by the Memphis Police Department,” said Larry A. Godwin, Director of Police Services.
“Police officers are entrusted with great power so that they can carry out their critical public safety responsibilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice does not tolerate excessive force, and when officers abuse their power by abusing people in their custody, the Department will aggressively prosecute.”

“The FBI holds as one of its highest priorities the investigation of civil rights violations, and the Memphis Division will pursue those who are entrusted with protecting our citizenry and violate that trust,” said Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the FBI Amy S. Hess. “The FBI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to ensure that justice is served.”

Mr. Stanton stated that the case is a result of the continued joint efforts by the Memphis Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office. Mr. Stanton also commended the exceptional work of members of the Organized Crime Unit, the Security Squad, and the individual officers who reported Officer White’s misconduct. The case was investigated by Sergeant Matthew Whittington assigned to the FBI/MPD Joint Task Force, Officer Paul Sherman, of the Organized Crime Unit. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steve Parker and Brian Coleman, and Civil Rights Criminal Section Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti.

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