Former Memphis police officer sentenced to 12 years for criminal civil rights violations
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A federal judge has sentenced a former Memphis police officer to 12 years in federal prison for criminal civil rights violations.
On January 24, 2020, 63-year-old Sam Blue pled guilty to conspiracy to violate civil rights by using force, violence, and intimidation, and conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce.
On Tuesday, United States District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. sentenced Blue to 144 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.
“Our citizens have a right to be policed by officers who follow the law,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz. “This officer abused his authority and violated others’ civil rights. He’ll now spend a significant time in federal prison. My hope is that this sentence sends a clear message that law enforcement officers who break the law will be held accountable.”
According to information presented in court, between 2014 and 2018, Blue, a sworn Memphis Police Department officer, conspired with others to rob drug dealers of drugs or drug proceeds.
Prior to the planned robberies, various co-conspirators would conduct surveillance of the targets.
Officer Blue provided his co-conspirators with information, such as home addresses for the targets of the robberies, obtained from law enforcement-restricted sources.
Blue also provided his co-conspirators with equipment, including an official MPD badge, and a car dashboard blue light to use during the planned robberies so that they could falsely claim to appear to be law enforcement.
In July 2018, Eric Cain was selected as a robbery target by the conspirators. The defendants began conducting surveillance on Cain and put a GPS tracker on his car.
Blue provided the gate code used by law enforcement to access Cain’s apartment complex in furtherance of the plan to commit the robbery.
On July 13, 2018, as Cain was leaving his apartment in Memphis around 4:30 a.m., a black car with flashing blue lights pulled up behind his car.
Cain believed he was being stopped by law enforcement.
Two of the defendants, dressed in black clothing with the word “police” on it and wearing masks and armed with handguns, got out of the car with the flashing lights and ordered Cain to get out of his car and get on the ground.
Cain obeyed and the men handcuffed him, put a hood over his face, and placed him in the back of their car.
The defendants then drove Cain to a house on Reese Road here in Memphis. At this new location, Cain was taken inside the house and restrained while the defendants beat him, burned him on his arms, neck, and head, and demanded that he tell them where he kept his money and/or drugs.
Cain was able to escape by jumping through the front window of the house.
He was hospitalized for a week in the burn unit and underwent surgery for his injuries.
“This sentencing proves that abuse of law enforcement authority will not be tolerated,” said Bryan McCloskey, acting special agent in charge of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Every citizen has the right to expect law enforcement officers to act in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold, and the FBI is committed to aggressively investigating and bringing to justice those officers who break the law and violate the public trust.”
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