(Memphis) “I think this was something taken out of text, blown out of proportion, but once that ball started rolling, there was no stopping the ball,” says Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams.
When it did stop, two officers were out of a job for what apparently started back in the fall in the heat of a police dispute with the city over pay and benefits cut.
Officers Marc Henderson and Parker Culver were said to have threatened fellow officers and the Mayor and plotted to take over their own Ridgeway Precinct.
That wasn’t all.
“It came out initially they were Sovereign Citizens, had caches of weapons. None of this stuff has been proven,” said Williams.
Williams said the officers were doing like many other officers, talking about the issues.
“For them to discuss that, you are trying to restrict what grown men talk about.” said Williams. “What about everybody else. You are gonna fire the whole police department because there are some disgruntled police officers out there. Are they doing this to make an example out of officers saying you better not think about going on strike?”
Williams says it even went as far as the TACT Squad going to the officers’ homes looking for a stash of guns, which they didn’t find.
He says Henderson and Culver aren’t troublemakers, “You have one officer, Henderson, who was nominated for Officer of the Month. He was encouraging other officers to go out there and work harder.”
Williams says the firing was to send a message to other disgruntled officers, “This is heavy-handed to me. I think these guys gonna get their jobs back,” says Williams.
The officers will have chance to get their jobs back.
They have 10 days to decide whether to appeal to the civil service board or they could choose arbitration.
The Memphis Police Department denies the officers were used as scapegoats or to send a message to other officers, saying the officers were fired for violating department policy.