(DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NEWS RELEASE) – On December 6, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted former Memphis Police Officer, Sam Blue, 61, and co-conspirator, Anthony Davis, for federal criminal civil rights violations which included the violent crimes of robbery and kidnapping.
On January 24, 2020, Blue pled guilty to conspiracy to violate civil rights by using force, violence, and intimidation, and conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce.
On January 24, 2020, Davis pled guilty to conspiracy to violate civil rights by using force, violence, and intimidation, conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce, and aiding and abetting the deprivation of civil rights by kidnapping.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty pleas today.
According to information presented in court, between 2014 and 2018 Sam Blue, a sworn Memphis Police Department officer, conspired with others to rob drug dealers of drugs or drug proceeds. Prior to the planned robberies, various co-conspirators would conduct surveillance of the targets. Officer Blue provided his co-conspirators with information, such as home addresses for the targets of the robberies, obtained from law enforcement restricted sources. Blue also provided his co-conspirators with equipment, including an official MPD badge, and a car dashboard blue light to use during the planned robberies so that they could falsely claim to appear to be law enforcement.
In July 2018, one victim was selected as a robbery target by the conspirators. The defendants began conducting surveillance on the man and put a GPS tracker on his car. Blue provided the gate code used by law enforcement to access the man’s apartment complex in furtherance of the plan to commit the robbery.
On July 13, 2018, as the victim was leaving his apartment in Memphis around 4:30 a.m. a black car with flashing blue lights pulled up behind his car. The victim believed he was being stopped by law enforcement. Two of the defendants, dressed in black clothing with the word “police” on it and wearing masks and armed with handguns, got out of the car with the flashing lights and ordered the man to get out of his car and get on the ground. The victim obeyed and the men handcuffed him, put a hood over his face, and placed him in the back of their car. The defendants then drove the man to a house on Reese Road here in Memphis.
At this new location, the victim was taken inside the house and restrained while the defendants beat him, burned him on his arms, neck, and head, and demanded that he tell them where he kept his money and/or drugs. The victim was able to escape by jumping through the front window of the house. He was hospitalized for a week in the burn unit and underwent surgery for his injuries.
Sentencing for Blue is scheduled for May 21, 2020, and sentencing for Davis is scheduled for May 28, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. where they each face sentences of up to life imprisonment.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: “A very low percentage of law enforcement officers engage in official misconduct and corruption, but when they do, it tarnishes the entire criminal justice system and damages the trust and confidence of citizens in proper police authority. When police officers use their badges to violate and oppress civil rights by robbery and kidnapping, it is our duty to expose their corruption, hold them accountable, and protect society from their violence and dishonesty. These guilty pleas and significant potential sentences will hopefully deter other violent and corrupt police behavior, restore the public’s faith in honest officers, and send a strong message that nobody is above the law.”
This case was investigated by the FBI Tarnished Badge Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.