MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings spoke to FOX13 about the MPD officer who confessed to kidnapping and murder while on duty.
Two men are charged in the case. The officer, Patric Ferguson, was arrested and immediately fired, according to MPD. Ferguson is charged with murder, kidnapping, and tampering with evidence. The other man is Joshua Rogers. He’s accused of helping Ferguson move the body of Robert Howard.
Rallings, who is only months away from retirement, told FOX13 Monday he learned of the fact one of his own had confessed to being a murderer on Saturday and that Ferguson confessed because he was basically caught red-handed.
“The fact that this young man was murdered by an individual who was supposed to uphold the law, it’s sickening. It shocks the conscience,” Rallings told FOX13′s Darrell Greene.
Ferguson joined the Memphis Police Department in 2018. Rallings said one of the first things he did when he heard of what Ferguson had confessed was to look for warning signs they may have missed on his application or during his training.
“There was nothing in his background, nothing in his application, nothing in his file that would indicate he would commit such an egregious act,” he said.
Investigators say Ferguson admitted to going to Robert Howard’s home last Wednesday while on duty. He then forced Howard into the back of his squad car at gunpoint.
FOX13 has learned MPD has this on video.
Ferguson admitted he drove a short distance away and shot Howard. It was after the fact Ferguson says he recruited Joshua Rogers to help him move the body and dump it near Second Street at the Wolf River Bridge. That’s where officers found Howard’s body Sunday after Ferguson’s confession.
When Rallings learned of the possibility that one of his officers might be involved early on in the investigation he said he instructed his team to put every single investigator on this.
“Do not hold back on any resource, because we need to learn the facts,” he said.
Rallings is asking people not to judge his police force by the actions of one officer.
“I would say to the citizens of Memphis and the men and women of the Memphis Police Department that this rogue individual’s actions do not represent who we are,” he said.
It is still unclear who gave investigators the information that led them to Ferguson and what connected Ferguson to the man he admitted to killing.
Shortly after Director Rallings’ interview with FOX13 anchor Darrell Greene, we shared his interview with community activist Theryn C. Bond. She was one of the hundreds of people who protested in the streets last summer and she’s been very vocal about police accountability for years.
Bond told FOX13 she wanted Director Rallings to take more ownership in this incident after one of his own committed such a heinous crime.
“And taking accountability for you know what we made a mistake, we let somebody out of the academy and on to the streets of Memphis who was not fit to serve, say that and let’s figure out as a community how to move on,” said Bond.
During his interview, Rallings said 99 percent of his force is “excellent” but Bond disagrees.
“I don’t call officers repeatedly beating someone in the face the week before excellent. I don’t call officers cussing out citizens excellent. I don’t call officers on horseback intimidating protest, excellent,” said Bond. “So which 99.9 percent of officers is he referring to?”
FOX13 asked Bond if Rallings’ statement exuded trust between the department and the community.
“No, it does the absolute opposite. It may make me trust them even less because now when they saw we’re calling out the bad apples here we are and we’re in the same place when they don’t call out the bad apples so we haven’t any movement in terms of bettering the community,” said Bond.
Cox Media Group