Former Meridian police officer pleads guilty to extortion

Published 11:36 am Thursday, December 3, 2020

A former police officer from Meridian, Mississippi, has pleaded guilty to extortion after prosecutors said he requested and received a cash payment in exchange for not ticketing a driver during a traffic stop in April.

Royric “Roy” Benamon, 27, entered the guilty plea Wednesday before Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III in Jackson. The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Mississippi announced the plea in a joint news release Thursday.

Benamon pulled over a driver at night in Lauderdale County and solicited the cash payment, the release said. He resigned from the Meridian Police Department after the incident was publicly disclosed.

“There is almost no greater threat to our society than when public servants, especially law enforcement, betray the trust of the people and abuse their authority for their own personal gain,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in the statement. “Bringing corrupt officials to justice is one of the highest priorities of this office.”

Benamon was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 28. Sentencing is set for March 3 in Jackson. Benamon faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.