Two officers assigned to Memphis Police Department's Ridgeway precinct were relieved of duty on Wednesday for an apparent threat to a Memphis city administrator.
Now the question is: Were they blowing off steam or were two officers seriously contemplating an action their colleagues considered as a possible threat?
Officer Parker Culver has a degree in history and minored in philosophy. Officer Marc Henderson has a college diploma in Japanese language. But, while there may be no question about their intellectual levels, FOX13 News has learned both officers are on the carpet after allegedly uttering what some of their colleagues at the Ridgeway precinct deemed a threat. It was serious enough to sign a memo attesting to what they overheard the pair say at roll call on Wednesday.
Police Director Toney Armstrong said Friday evening the officers were threatening to retaliate over the city's treatment of police officers.
Sources tell FOX13 News during the daily police ritual, their colleagues asserted an upset Henderson and Culver allegedly stated "they'd take control of the precinct's gun room and use them because they were tired of the administration's attitude toward the police department."
"It does worry us, it does concern us, concerns us greatly," Director Armstrong said. "It's not something that we take lightly."
The signed memo also alleged the duo was heard to say they'd "take care of the Chief Executive." We do not know who that was in reference to. On Wednesday night, Officers Henderson and Culver were informed they were relieved of duty with pay pending the results of an investigation into what police spokeswoman Sgt. Karen Rudolph on Thursday defined as "administrative issues."
The city's police director says the officers expressed their displeasure over potential cuts to officer pay and benefits by city leaders.
"I felt that the language was inappropriate and I can tell you it won't be tolerated," he said.
The FOX13 News source said the officers said they would "take control of the precincts gun room and use the weapons because they were tired of the administration's attitude toward the police department."
"When you do what we do for a living with all the access to equipment and the level of responsibility that we have, it's inappropriate for any law enforcement officers to make those type of comments to anybody," Director Armstrong said.
Director Armstrong wouldn't comment on whether extra security is being provided for the mayor or any city leaders.
The incident takes place at a time when negotiations have intensified over a new contract between the city and the Memphis Police Association.
FOX13 News did request and received on Friday the officers' personnel files.
Officer Culver, a University of Memphis graduate, joined the force in 2009. His 2011 file said he had "exceeded expectations" in a number of service categories. The only suggestion for improvement listed was he should become "more proactive than reactive."
There was no job evaluation sheet on Officer Henderson. However, FOX13 News did find a website that listed Henderson as a 2011 Memphis supporter of the Ron Paul Campaign For Liberty presidential campaign.
FOX13 News reporter Matt Gerien contributed to this report.
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