Former MPD officer sentenced to one year of diversion following guilty plea to reckless endangerment

Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 10:20 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 10:21 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A former Memphis Police officer was sentenced to one year of diversion on Monday morning after he pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment.

William Skelton, 36, was indicted by a grand jury on an official oppression charge back in 2021.

The former officer’s guilty plea comes after after he repeatedly pepper-sprayed a handcuffed man while on duty in 2019.

On January 10, 2019, the clerk of the Shell gas station on Airways Boulevard called police accusing 30-year-old Drew Thomas of vandalizing the store, breaking shelves, and throwing items.

Thomas had already been banned from the store after a previous incident. He also had a history of mental health and drug issues, according to his family.

An investigation into this incident was launched by the Memphis Police Inspectional Services Bureau.

Skelton was later charged with violating the Department’s Excessive Force policy because, as Thomas was handcuffed and seated in the back of a car posing no threat, Skelton sprayed him.

Skelton was also charged with violating MPD’s pepper spray policy, which cannot be used to “prevent the destruction of property,” and because Skelton did not help Thomas.

Finally, Skelton was charged with violating the Department’s Personal Conduct policy.

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