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Former Meridian police officer sentenced to federal prison

JACKSON, Miss. – Royric “Roy” Benamon, 27, a former officer with the Meridian Police Department,  was sentenced Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III to a prison term of 12 months and one day, followed by two years of supervised release, for extortion under color of right, also known as the federal Hobbs Act, announced Acting United States Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.

In April 2020, then-Officer 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 was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2020 on two counts of extortion under color of right.  On December 2, 2020 Benamon entered a guilty plea to one count of the indictment.

Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca stated, “One of the worst possible betrayals of the public trust is the abuse of power for personal gain by armed police officers.  We are determined to root out those bad actors who abuse their position of trust in this way, as they both endanger the community and besmirch the reputation of all honorable officers who follow their duty to protect and to serve.”

Acting U.S. Attorney LaMarca commended the work of the Special Agents with the FBI’s Jackson Division who investigated the case.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.