Former police union president's record details suspensions, commendations

J. D. Sewell
J. D. Sewell

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Last week's firing of Memphis Police Association president J. D. Sewell was not the first time he was released from the police force.

Sewell was fired last Wednesday in connection with an investigation of union member Sergeant Bettie Carter.  Carter was charged with animal cruelty when two of her dogs had to be put down for severe starvation.  When she missed her court date, Sewell called the judge to try to get Carter's arrest warrant dismissed.

Soon after, a hearing officer fired Sewell, saying he interfered with the investigation.

Tuesday, local union and city leaders protested Sewell's firing outside the police director's office.  But the department says the firing was because of Sewell's overall record.

Below are notes from that record:

Disciplinary Resume
MPD Officer J.D. Sewell

August 11, 1987: Suspended 2 days - Negligence for severely damaging his patrol car by driving around safety barriers.

December 9, 1987: Suspended 5 days - Disobeying orders for sitting on an accident scene instead of returning to patrol duties.

May 22, 1988: Suspended 7 days - Suspect complained of injuries from an arrest.

August 22, 1988: Suspended 5 days - Hit woman on bicycle and never reported it.

April 13, 1989: Suspended 14 days - Found in ladies bathroom at the Criminal Justice Center with a former court clerk employee, Jennifer Smith, who was bent over. He said she was picking up a piece of  paper. And he blocked the door with his foot so she wouldn't get hurt.  He admitted to unlocking the bathroom door with his truck key.  He said she was showing him graffiti of his name on the bathroom wall when someone walked in.  That person later saw the two of them leave the bathroom.  Sewell was on duty at the time and in full police uniform.

May 3, 1989: Courtroom Outburst - Smith entered a courtroom where Sewell was working and they argued in front of the court.  Sewell said he had gone to lunch with Jennifer Smith to break up with her earlier in the day.  Smith was eventually fired over the incident.

November 19, 1991: Fired, overturned - Teenager said an off-duty Officer Sewell roughed him up.  Sewell says he witness the teen in a hit and run of Sewell's personal vehicle.  Sewell pursued.  Sewell said he did not use any rough behavior on the teen.  The Civil Service Board overturned his firing after Sewell appealed.

April 12, 2004: Written reprimand - After repeated requests to see overtime records for a union member, he entered the Court Coordinator's Office.  They say he told them  they didn't know how to do their job and started going through their files.  He said they gave him permission.

April 14, 2009: Suspended 3 days - Released information to the media for an ongoing case.  Sewell said he didn't know it was an active case.

Source: MPD Human Resources

MPD Officer J.D. Sewell

2001: Officer of the Year
2003: Nominated Officer of the Year

September 5, 2001: Injury victim sends letter

February 2, 2002: High productivity

February 11, 2002: Tracked down robbery suspect

April 6, 2002: High productivity

May 11, 2002: Tracked down burglary suspect

May 15, 2002: High productivity

June 2, 2002: High productivity

June 4, 2002: Tracked down auto theft suspect

July 5, 2002: High productivity

July 5, 2002: Got confession from DUI suspect

September 3, 2002: Uncovered identity theft

Source: MPD Human Resources

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