Wharton wants MPD sergeant charged to the fullest extent - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton wants MPD sergeant charged to the fullest extent

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said Friday if he was practicing law, he would charge Memphis Police Sergeant Norman Benjamin with a hate crime.

Benjamin lied to investigators when he said a Hispanic man stole his gun and shot him.

Wharton was among those outside the MED last Saturday pleading for help in finding the person who shot the Memphis cop.  Friday, he said Benjamin's case reminds him of a hate crime.

"Bewilderment," said Wharton.  "Hurt.  Horrible things could have happened."

Last Saturday, Benjamin was shot in the stomach on Summer Avenue.  He originally told police a Hispanic man pulled the trigger during a struggle, which police said turned out to be a lie.

"I think this is so offensive I would call it a hate crime," said Wharton.  "When you set out to subject someone of color to possible arrest, imprisonment, whatever, just to protect your own hide.  I mean, that's sick."

Investigators said they are still working the case.

"I've told Director Armstrong that I want every conceivable offense to be explored," said Wharton.

Wharton said Benjamin has lost all credibility.

"When you walk around with that badge and that blue uniform, we don't go around that," said Wharton.  "That embodies, that signifies, you can believe me, that stands for truth, honesty and justice.  And to betray that, it just tears me apart."

Wharton said this is an isolated incident confined to one officer's actions.  He said unfair treatment against any ethnic group is intolerable.

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