As the target of an undercover sting operation, a former Memphis police officer was recently sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for narcotics and extortion offenses committed while on duty. In addition to robbing undercover officers that he believed were drug dealers, the former Memphis cop and another police officer escorted approximately 2.5 kilograms of heroin to a storage facility in Memphis shortly before their arrests.
In early 2018, the FBI and Memphis Police Department (MPD) launched a joint investigation into possible criminal activity committed by MPD Officer Kevin Coleman. During two separate incidents in March, Coleman pulled over undercover officers that Coleman falsely suspected were drug dealers and robbed them of thousands of dollars.
In April, Coleman and MPD Officer Terrion Bryson met an undercover officer posing as a drug courier. Using a patrol car and another vehicle, the corrupt cops escorted 2.5 kilograms of heroin and the undercover officer to a storage facility in Whitehaven.
On April 17, a federal grand jury indicted Coleman and Bryson for conspiring to distribute one kilogram or more of a mixture and substance containing heroin. Coleman was also indicted on 2 counts of Hobbs Act robbery.
On November 19, Coleman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant stated, “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 sentence 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.”
“Former officer Coleman swore to be a public servant and abide by the law. He has pled to some very despicable charges. His actions are contrary to the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women of who loyally serve the citizens of this city. As Director, I will take swift action to remove anyone who fails to adhere to and uphold the high standards set forth in our law enforcement code of ethics,” said Michael Rallings, Director of the Memphis Police Department.
“This sentencing sends a message that no one is above the law, especially those who have sworn an oath to uphold the law,” asserted Jeremy Baker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Public corruption investigations such as this continue to be a priority for the FBI due to the immeasurable harm corruption causes in our communities and to the reputations of all law enforcement officers, the majority of which are honest, hardworking men and women who serve with honor and integrity.”
Coleman’s accomplice, former MPD officer Bryson has entered a guilty plea and is currently awaiting sentencing.