4 Memphis Cops Get 255 Years for Robbing Drug Dealers

| by DOJ

Arthur Sease IV, a former Memphis Police Department officer, was
sentenced today to a prison term of life plus 255 years by Chief Judge
Jon P. McCalla in Memphis, Tenn. A jury convicted Sease in February
2009 of 44 counts of civil rights, narcotics, robbery, and firearms

"The peace and prosperity of our nation hinge on the integrity of our
law enforcement officers," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney
General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will continue to vigorously
prosecute police corruption both to protect the rights of individuals
and to maintain faith in our legal system."

"Effective law enforcement begins with honest law enforcement," said
U.S. Attorney Lawrence J. Laurenzi. "We will aggressively pursue and
convict those officers and agents who violate the law and the public’s
trust. We have entrusted law enforcement officers with our safety and
protection and we demand that they perform their duties honestly and

"The sentence is extraordinary in that it is one of the longest ever
imposed for civil rights violations which did not involve a victim’s
death," said My Harrison, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Memphis
Field Office. "We will vigorously investigate abuses of authority to
defend the fundamental right to ethical behavior by government

"This sentencing sends a serious message that police misconduct will
not be tolerated and will be dealt with harshly by our courts. While
criminal conduct brings dishonor to those who commit them, this
officer’s actions should not reflect negatively on our fellow officers
who continue to serve this community with pride and integrity," said
Police Director Larry Godwin.

The evidence at trial showed that from November 2003 through April
2006, Sease conspired with other members of the Memphis Police
Department to use their authority as law enforcement officers, to rob
suspected drug dealers of cash, cocaine, and marijuana. Sease and his
co-conspirators would then resell the stolen drugs for their own
profit. The government proved that Sease committed or was involved in
15 separate robberies.

Five other individuals had already pleaded guilty in this case. Andrew
Hunt was sentenced in February 2009 to 10 years in prison after
pleading guilty in September 2006 to a federal civil rights conspiracy,
robbery affecting interstate commerce and drug distribution. Former
Memphis police officer Antoine Owens pleaded guilty in August 2007 and
received a sentence of 63 months incarceration and three years of
supervised release in March 2009. Alexander Johnson, another former
Memphis police officer, pleaded guilty in April 2007 and was sentenced
to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release in March
2009. Laterrica Woods, a civilian who helped Sease and Hunt with one of
their robberies, also pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy in
September 2007 and was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment and three
years of supervised release in April 2009. Harold McCall, also a former
Memphis police officer, pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy in
a related case in May 2007 and received a sentence of three years
probation including one year of home confinement in June 2009.