Joyce Taylor of Memphis, Tennessee is asking some unsettling questions.
“Who is protecting us?” she inquires.
She is concerned the residents of the city are not safe.
This is in light of the fact that a police officer was allowed to serve the department despite his disturbing criminal history.
A man who was a threat to the citizens had been placed in charge of protecting them.
The worst part is that his fellow officers were aware of his troubled ways.
It is only days ago that he was put behind bars.
Police Officer Eric Lee, who has been with the department for six years, is currently suspended with pay.
The list of charges against him is long; his offences include aggravated sexual battery, official misconduct and official oppression for allegedly attacking a woman last year.
Lee’s unacceptable demeanor first became apparent in 2013 when he conducted an unauthorized search of a building and accidentally discharged his weapon in a separate incident.
The department reprimanded him for both these crimes – in other words he was let off the hook with a mere slap on the wrist.
Things took a turn for the worse in January 2014. He was involved in a domestic violence case, where he is said to have assaulted his live-in girlfriend. In a strange turn of events this charge was expunged from his file. The department did relieve him of his duties but continued to pay him with taxpayer money.
In November 2014, Lee pushed his luck. He sexually assaulted a woman who was waiting in a parked car at a busy intersection.
It took 10 months for the authorities to arrest him. They remain tight lipped about why it took so long and why his disconcerting behavior was ignored for almost three years.
District Attorney General Amy Weirich says this is not a light matter and will not be treated as such.
“There are other situations where we may take a little bit more time, conduct an investigation and take it straight to the grand jury,” she said.
For Memphis residents though, his 2014 offenses alone should have been enough to take him off the streets.
The case, which was arguably straight forward, is now turning into what may be a dragged episode.
In the meanwhile Taylor’s words hang in the air.
“Why did it take so long? Is it because it’s one of their own?”
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