Officer Arrest Comes at a ‘Bad Time’

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(Memphis) Memphis Police Officer Samuel Hearn appeared before a judge on charges he assaulted his girlfriend.

The first officer arrest of 2013 came just five days into the New Year, but 2012 saw several officer arrest.

Those 28 arrests make up just one percent of the Memphis Police force, but it is a higher number than other departments. 

Nashville has fewer officers than we do, but they saw a rate of half the officer arrests we had.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong says he is very disappointed at the arrest of Officer Samuel Hearn.

Hearn is accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the throat and throwing her to the ground.

Armstrong says this arrest comes at a really bad time, because the public has just poured their support and emotion into the department after the tragic death of Officer Martoiya Lang during a drug raid.

Sergeant Karen Rudolph says officer arrests are an embarrassment to the department, and now Officer Hearn will go through due process like anyone else accused of a crime. 

“He’s relieved of duty.  He will be handled the same way any suspect would be.  He will have to go through his court proceedings then he will have an administrative hearing,” said Rudolph.

That’s when the department will decide if he gets to keep his job.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says some of the 28 officer arrests last year were reversed, but the initial arrest gave people a negative opinion of the department and the officer.  

“This country says you’re innocent until proven guilty but it’s opposite for the officers. We’re saying just because you’re accused you’re guilty.  You need to be fired! What if he’s been wrongly accused?” said Williams.

The Department says officers go through training every year on how to handle stressful situations at home and they have counseling available to them whenever they ask for it to ward off domestic situations.