Former Meridian police officer indicted on extortion charges
JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - A former Meridian police officer has been charged in a federal indictment with extortion under color of official right, or in layman’s terms, taking a bribe.
According to the indictment, in April 2020, then-Officer Royric “Roy” Benamon on two separate occasions pulled over drivers in the middle of the night in Lauderdale County, and received from each of them cash payment in exchange for not issuing the driver a ticket.
Benamon resigned from the Meridian Police Department immediately following public disclosure of the allegations.
The indictment was returned July 28 but wasn’t unsealed until Thursday.
“Fighting public corruption is a top priority of this office, as our society is undermined when those in positions of power become corrupted and abuse the public trust for personal gain. We will continue to root out corrupt officials who endanger our communities and tarnish the reputation of our law enforcement who serve and protect us so honorably,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
FBI Agents and Task Force Officers arrested Benamon Wednesday without incident. Benamon appeared for arraignment Thursday before United States Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson in Jackson. The court released Benamon on bond, subject to conditions including that he refrain from violations of state or federal law while awaiting trial.
Trial has been set for Oct. 5, 2020, before Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III in Jackson.
If convicted Benamon faces maximum penalties of 20 years in prison for each count. Each count can also include a fine of up to $250,000.
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