Memphis police union boss suspended for misuse of funds

Phil Boehmke
Over the course of his lengthy career with the Memphis Police Department, J.D. Sewell has been in hot water a number of times, but the union was always there to save his bacon.  The MPD veteran eventually took over as president of the Memphis Police Association (MPA) due in part to his proficiency in gaming the system, but now Sewell finds himself in hot water with the union.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that Sewell has been suspended by the union.  Although the MPA chief will remain as president, his duties will be assumed by current vice president Mike Williams until further notice.

Reached late Thursday, Williams was circumspect about the reasons for the change.

"We felt like we needed to change our direction.  We felt like we needed to get more out in the public, and talk better to the (police) administration in regards to how we feel," he said.  "We haven't been doing a very effective job of doing that.  We just want to better open the lines of communication."

When asked if Sewell would return to his post, Williams said that he was uncertain.

"We haven't really determined yet.  We're still dealing with the bylaws," he said.  "At some point, you have to get someone's attention.  The attention of the administration, the attention of anyone who's going to fill positions down here (at the union).

Suspended MPA boss Sewell claims that he has "done nothing wrong," but that the union was displeased with his "style of representation."  Sewell maintains that he was relieved of his duties as president "to allow the vice president to try a different approach."  So according to Sewell and the union, the duly elected president of the Memphis Police Association has been suspended indefinitely because of his "style of representation" and to allow the union to "try a different approach."

Meanwhile Fox 13 News in Memphis reports that their sources have informed them that Sewell was suspended for using union funds to pay his bills and that he also used the MPA's tax exempt status to evade sales tax on his own purchases.  Perhaps the "change of direction" and "different approach" that Mike Williams and J.D. Sewell were talking about refers to having a leader who will keep his hand out of the union cookie jar. 

Don't worry about Sewell, he's been here before.  During his career he has been suspended on six different occasions for a variety of offenses.  Just prior to becoming MPA President, Sewell was fired from the Memphis Police Department on accusations that he compromised a criminal investigation, however the union stood behind him and he was re-instated and only given a 15 day suspension.

In April 1989, Sewell was suspended for 14 days after he unlocked a women's restroom at the Criminal Justice Center and went inside with a woman employed by the City Court Clerk's office.

Minutes later, another woman entered the restroom and saw the woman bent over in front of Sewell before the door was shut on her.

Sewell told investigators that the woman wanted to show his some graffiti in the restroom and that she was bending over to pick up a letter she had dropped.

Now that he has been suspended by the union, Sewell will assume his new duties with the MPD as a sergeant with the Domestic Violence Unit. 

Apparently before his election as president, no one bothered to ask Sewell any hard questions about his past.  Still our friends in the public sector unions can't seem to understand why the overburdened taxpayers are demanding reform and accountability.

April 9, 2011

paboehmke@yahoo.com


Over the course of his lengthy career with the Memphis Police Department, J.D. Sewell has been in hot water a number of times, but the union was always there to save his bacon.  The MPD veteran eventually took over as president of the Memphis Police Association (MPA) due in part to his proficiency in gaming the system, but now Sewell finds himself in hot water with the union.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that Sewell has been suspended by the union.  Although the MPA chief will remain as president, his duties will be assumed by current vice president Mike Williams until further notice.

Reached late Thursday, Williams was circumspect about the reasons for the change.

"We felt like we needed to change our direction.  We felt like we needed to get more out in the public, and talk better to the (police) administration in regards to how we feel," he said.  "We haven't been doing a very effective job of doing that.  We just want to better open the lines of communication."

When asked if Sewell would return to his post, Williams said that he was uncertain.

"We haven't really determined yet.  We're still dealing with the bylaws," he said.  "At some point, you have to get someone's attention.  The attention of the administration, the attention of anyone who's going to fill positions down here (at the union).

Suspended MPA boss Sewell claims that he has "done nothing wrong," but that the union was displeased with his "style of representation."  Sewell maintains that he was relieved of his duties as president "to allow the vice president to try a different approach."  So according to Sewell and the union, the duly elected president of the Memphis Police Association has been suspended indefinitely because of his "style of representation" and to allow the union to "try a different approach."

Meanwhile Fox 13 News in Memphis reports that their sources have informed them that Sewell was suspended for using union funds to pay his bills and that he also used the MPA's tax exempt status to evade sales tax on his own purchases.  Perhaps the "change of direction" and "different approach" that Mike Williams and J.D. Sewell were talking about refers to having a leader who will keep his hand out of the union cookie jar. 

Don't worry about Sewell, he's been here before.  During his career he has been suspended on six different occasions for a variety of offenses.  Just prior to becoming MPA President, Sewell was fired from the Memphis Police Department on accusations that he compromised a criminal investigation, however the union stood behind him and he was re-instated and only given a 15 day suspension.

In April 1989, Sewell was suspended for 14 days after he unlocked a women's restroom at the Criminal Justice Center and went inside with a woman employed by the City Court Clerk's office.

Minutes later, another woman entered the restroom and saw the woman bent over in front of Sewell before the door was shut on her.

Sewell told investigators that the woman wanted to show his some graffiti in the restroom and that she was bending over to pick up a letter she had dropped.

Now that he has been suspended by the union, Sewell will assume his new duties with the MPD as a sergeant with the Domestic Violence Unit. 

Apparently before his election as president, no one bothered to ask Sewell any hard questions about his past.  Still our friends in the public sector unions can't seem to understand why the overburdened taxpayers are demanding reform and accountability.

April 9, 2011

paboehmke@yahoo.com