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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Two Former Officers of the Memphis Police Department Indicted for Federal Narcotics and Violent Crimes Violations

 

Memphis, TN – On April 17, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted two former officers of the Memphis Police Department for federal narcotics and violent crimes violations. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee announced the indictment today.

As charged in the indictment, Kevin Coleman, 41, and Terrion Bryson, 26, conspired to distribute one kilogram or more of a mixture and substance containing heroin. Coleman was also indicted on 2 counts of Hobbs Act robbery.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Official misconduct and corruption by law enforcement officers strikes at the very heart of the criminal justice system, and damages the trust and confidence of citizens in proper police authority. When police officers use their badges to become drug dealers and highway robbers, it is our duty to expose their corruption, hold them accountable, and protect society from their dishonesty. This indictment and significant potential sentences will hopefully deter other corrupt police behavior, restore the public’s faith in honest officers, and send a message that nobody is above the law."

Under federal law, it is illegal to conspire to distribute a scheduled controlled substance. This is a violation of Title 21, United States Code (USC), § 846. A violation of this section involving more than one kilogram of heroin is punishable by a term of not less than 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000, and a term of supervised release of not less than five years.

It is also illegal under federal law to interfere with interstate commerce by taking property belonging to another without their consent under color of official right. This is a violation of Title 18 USC § 1951. A violation of this section is punishable by a term of not more than twenty years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of not more than three years.

Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings said: "We do not care what your profession is, and we do not care who you are; if you break the law and you are involved in illegal activity, we will arrest you."

"The conduct alleged in these indictments indicates a breach of the duty sworn to by all law enforcement officers, as well as crimes that erode trust with our community," said Michael T. Gavin, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "The FBI will continue to work with our partners to identify, present for prosecution, and ultimately remove those bad actors who do a disservice to the dedicated and hard-working officers and besmirch the good name of all who risk their lives daily to protect and serve our communities."

Kevin Coleman and Terrion Bryson, both of Memphis, have been indicted for one count of conspiring to violate the federal drug laws between April 8 and April 12 of 2018. As set forth in the indictment, the defendants, acting upon information from a cooperating source, agreed to escort a vehicle carrying heroin to a storage facility in exchange for cash payment from an individual they believed to be a drug courier. The defendants obtained partial cash payment in advance of escorting the narcotics. During the course of escorting the narcotics, defendant Coleman used his status as a law enforcement officer and the incidents of his office including driving a marked police vehicle, wearing a police-issued uniform, displaying an official badge and identification, and carrying a firearm. During the course of escorting the narcotics, defendant Bryson entered the vehicle containing the narcotics as the vehicle entered the city of Memphis and accompanied the driver in the vehicle to the storage facility. Upon delivering the narcotics to the storage facility, defendant Bryson obtained the remainder of the cash payment.

Coleman was also indicted for two counts of Hobbs Act robbery occurring on March 7 and again on March 15 of 2018.

This case was investigated by the Memphis Police Department Organized Crime unit and the FBI’s Tarnished Badge Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Updated April 17, 2018