Former Savannah-Chatham police officer sent to prison for extortion www.privateofficer.com
Savannah GA May 2 2012 A former Savannah-Chatham police officer on Monday was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and fined $1,000 for extortion at a downtown nightspot while working off-duty in police uniform.
Floyd B. Sawyer Jr., 45, must serve a three-year supervised release term after he is freed from confinement and complete 100 hours of community service during the first 12 months of his release, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled during a brief sentencing appearance.
Sawyer will have until June 1 to report to the prison designated by the federal Bureau of Prisons, Moore said.
The government charged that Sawyer, whle working security in full uniform and wearing his department-issued weapon at the Club Deja-Groove, 302 Williamson St., on May 22, 2010, took a cellphone, money and drugs from an undercover FBI informant posing as a drug dealer before releasing the man without a charge.
Moore sentenced a second man, former Savannnah-Chatham police detective Kelvin Frazier, to nine months in federal prison on Jan. 18 for concealing Sawyer’s conduct.
Evidence has shown Sawyer kept the cellphone for a relative; Frazier kept the drugs — 30 placebo Oxycontin pills.
Moore’s sentence for Frazier took into account the government’s urging that he get credit for helping investigators in the case.
Moore “conditionally” accepted Sawyer’s guilty plea on Jan. 20 as part of a negotiated plea agreement with government prosecutors.
In court Monday, Sawyer apologized for his conduct, adding that “If I had been paying attention to what was going on around me” he might not be before the court.
“I will do what I need to do to make this case go away,” Sawyer told Moore.
In his sentencing memorandum, defense attorney Nicholas Bruce urged Moore to sentence Sawyer below the 18 months recommended in a pre-sentencing investigation by probation officers.
“He pled guilty to a serious crime,” Bruce argued. “His life as he knew it is now over.”
Sawyer, who joined the force April 26, 2002, was fired by Chief Willie Lovett on Sept. 14, 2010, for violation of procedures unrelated to the extortion investigation.
Bruce’s memo argued Sawyer was a devoted husband and father of three who spent years bettering his community, as well as providing financial support for another child despite being under no court-ordered support obligations.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Durham argued in court the 18-month sentence was in line with the plea agreement.