Memphis, TN – A Memphis police officer has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping and murdering a man while on duty.
The Memphis Police Department (MPD) immediately began the process of firing 29-year-old Memphis Police Officer Patric Ferguson after he was apprehended last Sunday, according to the Commercial Appeal.
The chain of events leading to the arrest of Officer Ferguson began on Jan. 6, when a woman called police to report that her 30-year-old boyfriend, Robert Howard, was missing, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) said in a press release on Sunday.
The woman said Howard was last seen at about 5 p.m. on Jan. 5 in the 3500-block of Mark Twain Street.
She told police she used an app to track Howard’s cellphone to the area of Shelby Drive and Lamar Avenue.
The woman located the phone, but Howard was nowhere to be found, police said.
The MPD Homicide Bureau and the Missing Persons unit combined efforts to piece together what had happened to Howard.
They determined that Officer Ferguson was on duty when he encountered Howard outside Howard’s home on Mark Twain Street, where he was last seen, according to police.
Officer Ferguson, who was armed with a “personal handgun” and “acting on his own accord,” then “forced the victim” into the back of his patrol car, the MPD said.
Investigators determined he drove Howard to the area of Denver Street and Frayser Boulevard, where he allegedly shot and killed him, according to the press release.
Police said the officer knew Howard prior to the attack, but they did not provide details regarding the nature of their relationship.
Ferguson’s former girlfriend, a fellow MPD officer, had recently left him to take up a relationship with Howard, according to Howard’s cousin, Jennifer Robinson, WATN reported.
“When he knew he wasn’t going to get her back, he would rather stoop so low to take my cousin’s life,” Robinson alleged.
Investigators said Officer Ferguson has confessed to both kidnapping and murdering Howard, WREG reported.
He also allegedly admitted to dumping Howard’s body near the Wolf River Bridge, according to police.
The MPD also arrested Joshua Rogers, 28, for allegedly helping Officer Ferguson by “relocating Mr. Howard’s body after he was killed,” according to the press release.
Officer Ferguson “was immediately relieved of duty” by MPD on Sunday after he was arrested on charges of first-degree murder in perpetration of aggravated kidnapping, first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, especially aggravated kidnapping, and fabricating and tampering with evidence.
Rogers has been charged with abuse of a corpse, accessory after the fact, and fabricating and tampering with evidence.
“No one is above the law,” MPD Director Michael Rallings said in the press release. “Knowing that a Memphis Police Officer, someone who took an oath to protect and serve, made the decision to commit this horrific crime is devastating.”
Director Rallings said Officer Ferguson’s alleged crimes should not reflect on the rest of the city’s police force.
“Our investigators responded swiftly and did an outstanding job by identifying the suspect responsible,” he said. “This is an example of the professionalism and dedication that is displayed daily. Regardless of who you are, our investigators will conduct a thorough investigation and will seek justice for all victims.”
Director Rallings said he has no tolerance for the crimes Officer Ferguson is accused of committing.
“He was not acting as a police officer, he was acting as a criminal,” the director told the Commercial Appeal. “And that’s why he’s in jail. He’s been charged. And I hope he never sees the light of day.”
He noted that he wants the two-year department veteran to be fired as quickly as possible.
“I’ve instructed my team that I want this matter dealt with and closed this week,” Director Rallings told the Commercial Appeal.