MPD Director Toney Armstrong discusses 2010 complaint against Ro - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD Director Toney Armstrong discusses 2010 complaint against Robert Lipscomb

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The victim, whose 2015 phone call to Mayor A C Wharton launched an investigation into former City of Memphis Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb, contacted police five years ago saying Lipscomb sexually abused him.

Mayor A C Wharton said the victim filed a complaint with Memphis Police Department in 2010.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said the investigation was difficult to follow up on. In 2010, the victim was an adult, but the crime he reported happened when he was 16 years old.

Additionally, Armstrong explained that the victim was homeless at the time of the investigation. Therefore, he did not have an address where officers could find him to follow up with questions about the investigation.

Now, with nine then-underage people accusing Lipscomb of sex crimes, WMC Action News 5's Ursula Madden went for the direct question: Is Robert Lipscomb a danger to the public; is he someone who needs to be in custody?

"That's part of the investigative process," Armstrong said. "Certainly we're going to continue to work to find evidence, get the appropriate statements we have to get."

Armstrong and two of his investigators went to Seattle to get one of those statements from the aforementioned victim. Police said he requested the in-person interview during a conference call with Mayor A C Wharton and Director Armstrong.

"He had some obvious issues as it relates to trust with MPD and city government, but he felt he could trust me," Armstrong recalled. "The mayor made the decision at that time, 'I'll send the police director to talk to you.'"

Armstrong said his investigators are making sure to thoroughly investigate what happened in order to get the victim justice.

"Certainly, we've looked into his [the victim's] background as well," Armstrong explained. "We have a saying in law enforcement...there is no perfect victim. I don't think a person's past eliminates them from justice."

Additionally, Armstrong said he talked directly to Robert Lipscomb.

"It was a brief conversation," Armstrong said. "I'm not at liberty to discuss the things we said with the victim. The same holds true for Mr. Lipscomb."

Armstrong refused to speculate whether Lipscomb may be arrested, but he did promise a fair investigation.

"We owe that not only to the initial victim, but the ones who have come forward after that one," said Armstrong. "We also owe it to Mr. Lipscomb to investigate this impartially and thoroughly, and that's what we're going to do."

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