MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis pastor and activist is behind bars in connection to a diversion charge stemming from an arrest over four years ago.
DeVante Hill was arrested Wednesday morning on an outstanding warrant issued March 4. Two weeks later, on March 18, he was helping Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland pick the city’s next top cop.
”There were two violations. One for not reporting to his probation officer and two - failing a drug screen,” said Attorney Art Horne.
Hill is on probation after pleading guilty to filing a false report back in 2016.
He told police his laptop had been stolen.
The man who had the computer said Hill sold it to him.
”Much like a lot of African Americans who are here in the city, I kind of got caught up in the system, just in a way that’s not really fair,” said Hill.
Hill told WMC last June he pleaded guilty to make the case go away.
“They offered me a diversion which gave me the ability, it’s kinda basically, be on good behavior and the charges would just disappear,” he explained.
Hill became one of Memphis’ most visible activists five years ago standing side by side with Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings during the I-40 bridge protest.
This tweet shows he recently sat in on interviews with candidates for the city’s new police director.
Strickland’s administration tells WMC Action News 5:
“He is representative of a diverse Memphis community. News outlets in Memphis interviewed Mr. Hill as a credible source for his experiences as a community activist. His probation violation is minor and does not impact his value as a panelist.”
”So it’s not like he’s a person that’s out here running around breaking the law, not working, you know, or being a burden to society,” said Horne.
Horne says Hill mistakenly thought a court-ordered drug assessment counted as checking in with his PO because the paperwork he received said “case closed.”
Hill is scheduled to go to court Thursday to face termination of diversion charges.