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MPD: Officer & Dispatcher Suspended Over Road Rage Claim

A Memphis Police Officer and a 9-1-1 Dispatcher were suspended with pay Friday, after a Collerville man claimed the off-duty Memphis police officer flashed a gun at him in a case of road-rage.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Memphis Police Officer and a 9-1-1 Dispatcher were suspended with pay Friday, after a Collerville man claimed the off-duty Memphis police officer flashed a gun at him in a case of road-rage.

"I am beyond scared at this point," said Michael Montgomery.

Montgomery says he was driving to the store around 6 p.m. on Wednesday when he saw two men on motorcycles weaving through traffic.

Montgomery says at the next stop light he told the men they needed to slow down or else he would call 9-1-1. He says one of the men moved his jacket and displayed a gun in his pants and said, "I am the police."

"He never showed me a badge, showed me a gun though," Montgomery said.

Montgomery figured the man was impersonating a police officer, so he called 9-1-1.

Montgomery says about 40 minutes later at 7:26 p.m., his phone rang. It was a blocked call.

"I mistakenly answer it," he said. "It happened to be the off-duty police officer on the motorcycle."

Montgomery says the man had a chilling message.

"I am a police officer, you better watch your back, you dumb (expletive). I'm going to (expletive) you up if I see you," Montgomery says the caller said.

"An officer was dispatched to the area, at which time the motorcyclist was located in the parking lot of Joe's Crab Shack. The motorcyclist was identified as an off-duty MPD officer, Darrell Malone," a Memphis Police spokeswoman wrote in an email release on Thursday evening.

The release continued, "Malone advised that he was traveling northbound Germantown Parkway when he, and other motorcyclist, were cut off by a motorist that was occupying a SUV which was also traveling north bound Germantown Parkway. Malone advised that he attempted to flag the motorist to alert the driver that the motorcyclists were in the lane next them him. Malone advised that he did have a weapon holstered on his side and that the driver may have seen his weapon while he was trying to flag the complainant."

Montgomery says if it was Malone on the other end of that phone call, he wants to know how he got his phone number.

"I'm not saying this guy is Charlie Manson but I definitely want someone else to protect me if this is who we have," Montgomery said.

"The mere report of that causes me great concern," said Mayor A C Wharton, who was briefed on the allegations on Thursday morning.

"I am troubled, and I am troubled deeply, by that allegation and I am telling you right now, we are going to work around the clock and we are going to get an answer," Wharton said. "If, if, if, it is true, it is going to be dealt with, and dealt with severely."

"If it is not true, and someone turned in a false report about one of our officers, that is going to be dealt with," Wharton added. "Either way this goes, somebody is going to be dealt with."

"You can't straddle the line on this one."

Wharton promised a swift investigation.

"I have everybody I can working on that right now," he said.

Tough talk, but Montgomery is still worried.

"He is crazy enough to show me a gun, drive recklessly, call my cell phone, how do I know he isn't crazy enough to come to my house and do something?" he said.

"Darrell Malone and Radio Dispatcher, Jenny Rice, have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the investigation," a Memphis Police spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail Friday evening. " Allegations against Rice's involvement in releasing inappropriate information to off-duty Officer Malone is also being reviewed by Inspectional Services."

"If it is found that a MPD Dispatcher and/or a MPD officer have acted inappropriately and inappropriate information was released, the applicable disciplinary charges will be forthcoming." the e-mail states.

Both Malone and Rice could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

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