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Press Release

Former Memphis, Tennessee, Police Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Violation for Assaulting a Man in his Custody

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former Memphis Police Department (MPD) officer was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release for violating an arrestee’s civil rights by using excessive force against him.

According to court documents, Armando Bustamante admitted that, in January 2021, while he was on duty as an MPD officer, he used his service weapon and hands to strike an arrestee in the head without legal justification. The assault caused bodily injury to the man.

“This former Memphis police officer is being held accountable for violently assaulting a man in his custody without any justification,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those law enforcement officers who abuse their authority and violate federal civil rights laws.”

“Public trust in law enforcement is essential to public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee. “When an officer violates that trust, it makes policing less effective and far more dangerous for both officers and average citizens. We will continue to work with our partners in local and state law enforcement to root out those who violate public trust and endanger those they’ve sworn to protect.”

“Today’s sentencing highlights that law enforcement officers who abuse their authority and deny an individual their civil rights will be held accountable,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI and our partners will continue working together to uncover any violation of civil rights and pursue justice for victims in these cases.”

The FBI Memphis Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard for the Western District of Tennessee and former Trial Attorney Nikhil Ramnaney of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.

Updated August 31, 2023

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 23-948