Disciplined MPD Officers had prior infractions before body found in van

MPD officers disciplined after body left in van had prior infractions

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - We’ve learned more about the nine Memphis police employees disciplined after the body of a murder victim was overlooked in the back of a van that sat in the city impound lot for weeks.

Nine MPD employees were disciplined, and MPD Director Mike Rallings has admitted his officers made mistakes in this case.

Monday, WMC5 looked at each of their files and learned several of them have been in trouble before.

Vehicle Storage Service Representative (VSSR) John Powell began working with MPD in 1997. He was terminated in 2019 as a result of this investigation. In October 2013, documents show Powell was given an oral reprimand after he placed a car in the wrong section of the police impound lot. Documents show he disputed all the evidence, but the charge was sustained. Powell was disciplined for something similar the month before. Back in August 2012, Powell was given a five-day suspension after he violated department policy for looking at several pornography websites while at work. Records show Powell admitted to looking at pornography and accepted full responsibility.

Officer Thomas Ray started working with MPD in 2009. He was arrested after an incident in 2012 in Fayette County. He was accused of driving an ATV and having a gun while intoxicated. Records show the gun he had was his duty weapon. The passenger riding on the ATV told investigators Ray had consumed alcohol before getting on. Ray was terminated back in 2013, but after coming to an agreement with the city, was reinstated in 2016. Part of the agreement included treating the time from termination in 2013 through reinstatement as suspension without pay. Ray also agreed to withdraw the grievance challenging his termination. Documents also show Ray’s father was a former Memphis Police officer.

Officer Jeffrey Arthur joined MPD in 2007. Records show he violated policy after he was accused of being disrespectful and using profane language while at call involving a child in September 2014. In May 2014, Arthur violated the “Location When Ill” policy, which states, “a member reporting sick or injured shall be confined to his or her residence, clinic or hospital during his or her scheduled duty hours...” This happened after a supervisor went to his home and found he wasn’t here. Arthur told the supervisor he was at his mother’s house, but failed to let anyone know. Arthur was given a written reprimand.

Sergeant Lee Allison joined MPD in 1998. In 2001, then Officer Lee Allison and his partner didn’t adequately check their squad car at the end of their shift, which lead to marijuana being found by the next officers. It was recommended they receive counseling.

9 MPD employees disciplined after body in van investigation (re-clip)

Officer Lee Walker joined MPD in 1994. He was cited for being late to work several times and failing to show up over the years. He received 3 months suspension from the overtime list after he didn’t show up to work detail in 2006. In 2005, he violated the department’s punctuality policy after he was late to work six times over the course of three months. In 2004, dispatch called Walker 35 times before he acknowledged the call. In 2000, Walker and several other officers failed to show up to court. He case was related to a person charged with possession of a firearm on liquor selling premises. The case ended up getting dismissed because officers didn’t show up to court.

Officer David Wagner joined MPD in 2008. He was cited for improperly using lights and sirens when responding to a call and caused more than $13,000 worth of damage to a squad car in 2014. The body shop determined the squad car was a total loss. It was determined Wagner was on his way to assist his partner when the crash happened.

Sergeant Kevin Williams joined MPD in 1999. He was charged with violating policy back in May 2002 after he was accused to have made threats to a carriage officer. Documents show Williams identified himself as a police officer then became disrespectful. Williams claimed he didn’t say anything to the carrier.

All of the employees with the exception of Thomas Ray, Kevin Williams and John Powell have also received minor vehicle infractions. Officer Steve Theriac received a one day suspension and remedial driving training after he hit a car in a parking lot January 2011.

Officer Keeley Greer joined MPD in 2006. In 2009, he was cited twice for rough or careless handling of equipment after two separate incidents involving vehicle.

Director Rallings said the internal investigation conducted by his department also prompted changes to the policy. He ordered a complete inventory of every vehicle at the impound lot.

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