MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Memphis police officer was wrongly arrested and charged with aggravated burglary after his fingerprints were found at a burglary crime scene that he was investigating.
Now, the MPD has opened an administrative investigation, as officials try to determine how the officers fingerprints would up as evidence, and why he was arrested.
The incident happened in mid-March at the Memphis home of Priscilla Copeland. Her neighbor, Antavious Christopher, happened to be outside at just the right time, and saw the burglary in process.
“I asked ‘em, I said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ Christopher said. “I had my handgun on the side.”
Copeland was staying elsewhere while her home was being renovated when the pair of men broke in.
“It just hurt my heart, you know? I work hard,” she said.
Because Antavious Christopher called 911, within 15 minutes, the officers were able to catch two suspects, Terrance Jones and Mario Norfleet.
Back at the scene of the burglary, investigators found fingerprints on a displaced lawnmower in the backyard. Eventually the prints came back to Edrick Braxton, who was arrested, booked into jail, and charged in mid-April – more than a month later.
But, the charges were quickly dropped, because the arrest was a mistake. Braxton is a Memphis police officer, and was originally called to the house to help work the case. According to a statement released Friday by the police department, “…upon further investigation, the warrant was recalled and Officer Braxton was released.”
“I’m okay with that,” Copeland said when she heard the news. “I’m sorry it happened to him.”
Copeland said she is pleased to have a neighbor like Christopher, and is confident in what he witnessed.
Norfleet, meanwhile, also was arrested for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furniture from a nearby warehouse.