Police: Officer gave false information about shooting

Published: Sep. 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM CDT
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Sgt. Norman Benjamin
Sgt. Norman Benjamin

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis police officer injured in a Saturday shooting lied about the person who shot him, investigators said Monday.

At a press conference at 201 Poplar, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said Sgt. Norman Benjamin lied about the shooting.

After he was shot, Benjamin told police the suspect was a Hispanic male.

But Monday, Armstrong said a woman named Martha Mote, 54, has been charged in connection to the shooting.

"Benjamin advised that he'd been shot by a Hispanic male and provided a physical as well as clothing description of the suspect," said Armstrong.  "The evidence on the scene did not support the story that he had previously told officers."

According to Armstrong, Benjamin and Mote were involved in a romantic relationship.

Armstrong said a Crime Stoppers tip told investigators Benjamin had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl.  He was also in a romantic relationship with Mote, who is the girl's aunt.

Police said Mote pulled a semi-automatic handgun from her purse and shot Benjamin.

"When he actually gained consciousness and officers were able to talk to him, during the conversation with them, he provided them with this information," said Armstrong.

Benjamin is married to Renate Benjamin and reportedly also has a fiance, Elaine Hall.

"The last time I saw him, I kissed him goodbye and told him to have a great day at work," said Hall.  "Not knowing this was going to happen."

Hall said Benjamin was divorced and they had been together for 12 years.  She said he is her sole provider.

"I have three children and he went above and beyond to help me take care of them, and they aren't even his," said Hall.

Norman and Renate Benjamin have two adult children together.  Renate Benjamin's friends said they are not divorced.

Benjamin has been officially relieved of duty.  He may also face charges.  He remains hospitalized in intensive care.

"This is an ongoing investigation and the case has been presented to the attorney general for possible charges against Sgt. Benjamin," said Armstrong.

Mote's neighbor, Pat Mangrum, said she was under the impression Mote and Benjamin were married.

"I'm shocked," said Mangrum.  "I was outside and I saw his wife, and I said hi to her and she was leaving out.  And she said that was her husband that got shot."

Mangrum's apartment is a half-mile from where Benjamin claimed he was shot on Summer Avenue.

Investigators are not sure exactly where Benjamin got shot, but said they are certain his original story was bogus.

"It's inexcusable," said Armstrong.  "It's behavior that won't be tolerated by this administration.  It's something that you don't expect of a police officer."

Police said they still have many unanswered questions.

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