How Xenophobia Facilitates Civil Rights Violations

On June 25, 2009, the Department of Justice announced that Carlton Moore, former officer the Memphis Police Department admitted to three counts of violating civil rights for stealing from motorists while acting under color of law.

Moore confessed that on March 1, March 14 and again on May 4, 2009, he secretly stole from three Latino males who he pulled over while on duty, representing the Memphis Police Department. During these “alleged pull-overs” Mr. Moore would command victims to step out the cars, patted them, and removed their personal items. Mr. Moore would then steal money from the victims before returning their personal items.

“Police officers who abuse their authority for personal gain will be vigorously prosecuted,” said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Our laws give every American a fundamental right not to be victimized by rogue police officers.

“Officer Moore dishonored his badge and his fellow officers when he chose to steal from innocent immigrants during traffic stops. Protecting the rights of every person from abuse committed by public officials is of the highest priority of this office,” said Larry Laurenzi, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

“We have a responsibility to our citizens, visitors and the outstanding members of the Memphis Police Department. We will not tolerate those who dishonor our badge by criminal activity. Mr. Moore admitted to robbing Hispanic members of our community while on-duty, in uniform and in a marked squad car," said Larry A. Godwin, Director of the Memphis Police Department. “After initiating this investigation, we worked in conjunction with the FBI to capture Moore as he committed the crime. We police our own and criminals wearing our badge will be aggressively pursued just as any other criminal in Memphis.

As a result of his dishonesty Mr. Carlton Moore faces up to three years in prison.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund