Pastor sues city over reward money for turning in accused cop killer

Pastor sues city over reward money for turning in accused cop killer

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A high-profile Memphis preacher filed a lawsuit against the City of Memphis over reward money promised to whoever helped turn over an accused cop killer.

Reverend Ralph White instantly recognized the photo of Tremaine Wilbourn in August 2015. He grew up across the street from Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church.

Wilbourn was wanted for the death of Memphis police officer Sean Bolton.

"I took a look and I told my wife I said, 'I know him.' And I said I am going to have him turn himself in," Rev. White said.

Rev. White said through his connections with the community he ministers to, he was able to make contact with Wilbourn and helped the 29-year-old surrender to U.S. Marshals for Bolton's death.

In the days leading to Wilbourn's arrest, a combined reward of $50,000 from Memphis City Council, Crime Stoppers of Memphis and Shelby County, and U.S. Marshals was widely advertised.

Rev. White said he's never received the money.

"I think their intention is they don't want to pay the money," Rev. White said. "I think that's cut and dry. They don't want to give up that reward."

That is the source of Rev. White's lawsuit, which you can read in full below:

Now, Rev. White said the city of Memphis is asking him to give up his source without the payment.

Rev. White has no plans to do so, since he said he was the one who convinced Wilbourn to turn himself in.

"It's not going to stop us from doing what we are doing," Rev. White said. "But we are saying to the city you need to stand up and be a man of their word."

Rev. White fears that without the payment from the reward, others may not be so forthcoming with information on crimes.

Because the case is pending, the city did not comment.

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