"We have some that for whatever reason decide not to honor the oath that they took," said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong responding to questions surrounding two officers dubbed the "pimp cop" and the "rapper cop."
They're his department's latest public relations nightmare, adding to an embarrassing list of officers who opt to do the opposite of "serve and protect."
After being sworn in 18 months ago, Director Armstrong made it clear there would be no tolerance for crime especially if it involved someone under his command.
His usually calm demeanor aside, these days Armstrong has to be seething inside. For once again his department's reputation is taking more hits generated by the bizarre antics and brazen criminality of "cops gone wild."
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Armstrong's consternation reached new levels within the past 24 hours as two unrelated incidents came to public attention. Patrolman Sean McWhirter was arrested Sunday and charged with sex trafficking following more than a year long FBI investigation. He allegedly was paid money last November to drive three women to Tunica in a patrol car for a party that he was told would include sex acts.
Far less criminal, but just as head scathingly embarrassing, was the exposure of a YouTube hard core rap video starring officer Candyance Davis, AKA "Quolove." The video hit complete with alleged "gangsta signs" and explicit language.
"The investigations on the young lady that you're speaking about in the video was already in place and with this investigation into the young man that was arrested yesterday. It's still ongoing," Director Armstrong said.
Despite his quick responses and his determination to clean up the department, Armstrong's leadership has been victimized by a rash of cop-involved bad behavior ever since he took over the helm in March 2011.
There was "love-struck" former Sergeant Norman Benjamin who pled guilty to shooting himself, lying about it and trying to hire a hit man to kill the boyfriend of his teenage girlfriend. Officer Melvin Robinson was caught with 10 kilos of cocaine while in uniform and driving a patrol car.
From January to April of this year there were eight arrests of police officers on various charges including being drunk and belligerent to fellow officers. Yet, remember under former Director Larry Godwin's tenure nearly three dozen police officers found themselves on the wrong side of the thin blue line.
"For some reason people feel like, we have a certain sector of our officers, they feel like they're exempt," Director Armstrong warns. "You would think the message is clear. We are watching. We are paying attention, and we're going to continue to do that."
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