Former Memphis cop to remain behind bars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former Memphis cop to remain behind bars

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A former Memphis police officer will remain behind bars after allegedly using his power to rob two men during a traffic stop.

Lorenzo Couch was arrested and fired after he was accused of taking advantage of two Hispanic men and robbing them of nearly $500 during an on-duty traffic stop.

"That's animalistic," Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said Thursday. "That is the scum. That is the worst of the worst."

During a press conference at City Hall, Wharton called the crime "predatory," but Couch's attorney, Marvin Ballin, said his client's case is defensible.

"You know it just may not have happened the way these witnesses say," Ballin said.

Couch is currently in jail on $150,000 bond.  During his initial court appearance, Ballin initially asked a judge to lower bond, but then rescinded the request after learning it would not be to his benefit.

Now, Ballin said, his client has no plans to even try to post bond until Monday at the earliest.  That is because Couch could forfeit the bail money if he was arrested again, a possibility because the United States Attorney's office might file federal charges against him.

Mike Scholl, a longtime Memphis attorney who has tried numerous cases in federal court, expects state and federal prosecutors to seek to maximize Couch's possible punishment.

"The main reason they take this seriously is because corruption within in the police department, corruption within the legal system, goes right to the core of the system," Scholl said.

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin, who was out of town Thursday, released the following statement: "It's very unfortunate that I am out of the city at a time when I feel the citizens of Memphis and members of Memphis' Finest need reassurance from me that criminal behavior by officers will not be tolerated. This incident should not take away from the hard work and dedication of the men and women in blue. We are known globally for our technology and BLUE CRUSH crime reduction plan with crime being down over 35%. As Director, I remain committed to ridding this department of bad officers and protecting the great citizens of Memphis."

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