Accused of accepting cash payments in lieu of issuing traffic tickets during two separate routine stops, a former Mississippi police officer recently pleaded guilty to one count of federal extortion under color of official right.
In April 2020, Meridian Police Officer Royric “Roy” Benamon pulled over at least two drivers at night on separate occasions in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and solicited cash bribes from the drivers in exchange for not issuing tickets. Benamon resigned from the Meridian Police Department immediately following public disclosure of the incidents.
In August, the Justice Department announced that Benamon had been arrested and charged with two counts of extortion under color of official right. Last week, Benamon pled guilty to one count of extortion under color of official right before Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III.
“There is almost no greater threat to our society than when public servants, especially law enforcement, betray the trust of the people and abuse their authority for their own personal gain. Bringing corrupt officials to justice is one of the highest priorities of this office, and we will continue to ensure that the public is protected and that criminals answer for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst in a recent press release.
Benamon faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is currently scheduled for March 3, before Judge Jordan in Jackson, Mississippi.