A former police officer for the Memphis Police Department has been federally indicted for allegedly raping a woman who reached out to report an incident of vandalism. Bridges Randle, 47, was acquitted in state court on the matter in 2018. Federal prosecutors nonetheless believe they have a civil rights case against him. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
The incident happened on June 24, 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Randle — who federal prosecutors said has used the names Ajamu Abiola Banjoko and Oluwafemi Abiola Banjoko — was not arrested until 2014 because of a backlog involving the testing of rape kits.
Randle was arrested while living in Atlanta, Georgia, and working as the operational director of healthy lifestyles for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta after changing his name to Ajamu Abiola Banjoko, according to The Commercial Appeal.
The alleged victim had originally called police to say her boyfriend struck the back of her new car with a baseball bat. Randle allegedly returned after the other cops left. Ostensibly, this was to review the vandalism, but Randle ended up raping the woman in the home after showing her his gun, the woman said.
“He pulled me into my daughter’s bedroom, and he pushed me onto the bed,” the woman testified, according to WMC. “I put my hands up like that, and I asked him to stop.”
Her daughter was sleeping in another room, she said.
Her daughter lashed out during the 2018 trial.
“I’m going to kill him,” she said, obviously distraught as she was pulled out of court. “I want him to die.”
Randle no-showed in court for his verdict after reportedly calling his lawyer to say he was stuck in traffic. The judge declared after two hours of waiting that the defendant was voluntarily absent and moved the proceedings forward. Jurors acquitted. The woman could be heard sobbing behind closed doors, and prosecutors rushed her out of the courthouse, according to The Commercial Appeal.
“The victim testified, the jury heard all the evidence in the case, and resolved the case in favor of the accused,” attorney Leslie Ballin told WMC at the time.
The defense argued that the 2000 incident was actually consensual sex.
Prosecutors at the time suggested there could be a warrant for failure to appear.
“Can the state of Tennessee accuse my client of another crime of failure to appear? Absolutely, and I anticipate that will be done shortly,” Ballin said. “If he is charged with another crime, I can tell you under our ethics it would be impossible for me to represent him on that new charge based on what I know, and I’m not telling you.”
Randle is now charged federally with an alleged civil rights offense that included aggravated sexual abuse. The case documents have not yet been made public in an online court database.
The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
[Screenshot via WMC]
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