Outrage follows officers' dismissals - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Outrage follows officers' dismissals

Action News 5 was the only station there Tuesday night as Memphis Police officers were stripped of the guns and badges.  Their belongings were bagged.  They are accused of slacking off while on the clock.

"Officers doing their jobs ought to be outraged," Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said.  "Citizens doing their jobs ought to be outraged," he added.

Union officials are outraged too.

"They should not have had their badges taken away for such a minor infraction," an official who does not want to be identified said.

He admits, hanging out at the union hall has been an issue.  But never, he says, have officers been immediately removed from the streets.

"They were just told to get back to their area and get back to work," the union official said.

A peek into the "policies and procedures manual" reveals that getting arrested, indicted, or using deadly force is more likely to get an officer relieved of duty.

"I mean, this is just rank intimidation at it's worst," radio host Mike Fleming said.

The dismissals came shortly after critical calls to Fleming's show.  Calls from officers who are concerned about a power struggle between top cops and newly elected union leadership.

"It's just the timing of the whole incident," the union official said.

It's timing Godwin considers mere coincidence.

"And to turn this into a union issue is beyond me," Godwin said.

He said the punishment fits the crime.

Obviously, no crime has been committed.  In fact, these nine officers could be back on duty by the end of the week.  The director contends this type of discipline is dished out all the time, just never so publicly.

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