JULY 1, 2009 — According to the Department of Justice, Arthur Sease IV, a former Memphis Police Department officer, was sentenced today to a prison term of life plus 255 years by Chief Judge Jon P. McCalla in Memphis, Tenn. A jury convicted Sease in February 2009 of 44 counts of civil rights, narcotics, robbery, and firearms offenses.
“The peace and prosperity of our nation hinge on the integrity of our law enforcement officers,” said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute police corruption both to protect the rights of individuals and to maintain faith in our legal system.”
“Effective law enforcement begins with honest law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence J. Laurenzi. “We will aggressively pursue and convict those officers and agents who violate the law and the public’s trust. We have entrusted law enforcement officers with our safety and protection and we demand that they perform their duties honestly and truthfully.”
The evidence at trial showed that from November 2003 through April 2006, Sease conspired with other members of the Memphis Police Department to use their authority as law enforcement officers, to rob suspected drug dealers of cash, cocaine, and marijuana. Sease and his co-conspirators would then resell the stolen drugs for their own profit. The government proved that Sease committed or was involved in 15 separate robberies.
Five other individuals had already pleaded guilty in this case. Andrew Hunt was sentenced in February 2009 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in September 2006 to a federal civil rights conspiracy, robbery affecting interstate commerce and drug distribution. Former Memphis police officer Antoine Owens pleaded guilty in August 2007 and received a sentence of 63 months incarceration and three years of supervised release in March 2009. Alexander Johnson, another former Memphis police officer, pleaded guilty in April 2007 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release in March 2009. Laterrica Woods, a civilian who helped Sease and Hunt with one of their robberies, also pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy in September 2007 and was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release in April 2009. Harold McCall, also a former Memphis police officer, pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy in a related case in May 2007 and received a sentence o
f three years probation including one year of home confinement in June 2009.