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Press Release

Former Memphis Police Officer Sentenced To 84 Months For Civil Rights Violations, Drug Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – Melvin Victor Robinson, 32, a former Memphis Police Officer, was sentenced today to 84 months in federal prison following his guilty plea to civil rights violations and attempting to possess 10 kilograms of cocaine with the intent to distribute, announced U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III.

“This sentence should serve as an unequivocal warning that law enforcement officers who disgrace their badge and violate the public’s trust will ultimately be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Stanton. “We will continue to hold accountable anyone who engages in such conduct – including those who take an oath to protect and serve.”

In July, Robinson pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Section 846; one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 242; and conspiracy against rights, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 242.

On January 26, 2012, an informant contacted Robinson and contracted the sale and purchase of 10 kilograms of cocaine. According to facts stated in court, Robinson met the informant while he was on duty and in his police car. The informant told Robinson that the cocaine was stored inside a trailer located at a trucking lot in south Memphis. The informant then provided Robinson with the key and location of the trailer. Approximately ten minutes later, Special Agents and Task Force Officers of the FBI saw Robinson get out of his police car and enter the trailer. Robinson later exited the trailer and placed a black duffel bag containing what he believed to be cocaine inside his police car.

Robinson also pleaded guilty to stealing money from Jwan Boddie. On November 14, 2011, Boddie was detained by Robinson during an arrest while Robinson was working as a MPD officer. According to facts stated in court, Robinson and his partner responded to a narcotics call at the Colonial Inn, where they found Boddie in his hotel room. During that search Robinson admitted to stealing $700 and later sharing the money with his partner.

Robinson also pleaded guilty to striking Jeremy Pettis during an arrest in April 2011. According
to facts stated in court, Robinson detained and punched Pettis in the face while he was sitting in his vehicle.

“The criminal behavior of a police officer harms the integrity of all of law enforcement,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The hard work by the FBI and our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute this case stands as a reminder that the majority of law enforcement officers serve and protect their communities honorably.”

“This is proof that the judicial system works,” said Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong. “Regardless of what position you hold you will be held accountable for your actions if you choose to break the law.”

This crime was investigated by the Tarnished Badge Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Memphis Police Department, and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Coleman on behalf of the government.

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Updated March 19, 2015