City Of Memphis Never Had Reward Money That They Offered For Capture Of Cop-Killer

Memphis never had reward money to pay for the capture of Officer Sean Bolton's killer. Pastor White (right) is trying to claim the reward.

Memphis never had reward money to pay for the capture of Officer Sean Bolton’s killer. Pastor White (right) is trying to claim the reward.

Memphis Never Had Money To Pay Offered Reward For Officer Sean Bolton’s Killer

Memphis, TN –  In 2015, the city of Memphis offered a reward of $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Tremaine Wilbourn, the man who murdered Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton.

Now they say they never had the money for the reward, and they have no plan to pay the promised money.

The pastor who convinced Wilbourn to turn himself in said that he wants the money for his church.

The murder occurred on August 1, 2015, when Officer Bolton stopped a vehicle near Cottonwood and Perkins in Parkway Village, according to the Memphis Flyer.  Wilbourn was a passenger in the vehicle that Officer Bolton stopped.

Police believe that Officer Bolton interrupted a drug transaction when he made the traffic stop.

During the stop, a struggle occurred between Officer Bolton and Wilbourn during which Officer BoIten was shot eight times.  He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

Wilbourn fled after he murdered Officer Bolton, then carjacked a man at gunpoint.  A massive manhunt ensued, and Wilbourn turned himself in to police.  He was positively identified by the carjacking victim, according to WREG.  Police later searched the car that Wilbourn had been a passenger in, and seized a small amount of marijuana.

Pastor Ralph White then tried to claim the reward.  He was Wilbourn’s pastor, and was with him when he turned himself in.  Pastor White said that he convinced Wilbourn to turn himself in, and that Wilbourn had called him.

He said that he wanted to use part of the money to provide ministry for the youth who live near his church, Bloomfield Full Gospel Church.

He said, “It doesn’t matter what I do with it. I could take a match to it and burn it up. The reward belongs to the individual who fulfilled that.  What’s really at stake here is the reputation of the city. ” He did not comment on what he planned to do with the rest of the reward money.

In 2015, former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said, “I have requested City Councilman Myron Lowery and he has agreed to ask the council to post an award in a similar amount of 10-thousand dollars”, according to WREG.  The amount of the reward money grew to $50,000, and despite what the city of Memphis told media and the public, the a reward fund never existed.

Former Chief Administrative Officer of Memphis Jack Sammons told WREG that “It was a strategy to smoke out the bad guy.”  He said that the “A C Wharton administration” tried to raise the money, but never received “a dime” although the public was led to believe otherwise.

Buddy Chapman, the head of Crimestoppers, said that they never received any of the money, although he had met with Sammons to set up payments.

He said, “I am not sure there was $50,000. As I understood it, there were pledges to pay $50,000.”  His concern is the reputation of Crimestoppers, who will only pay rewards of up to $1,000, but who handle payments for reward donations.

Crimestoppers only pays its reward if the tip is called in to 528-CASH.  No one ever called Crimestoppers with information about Wilbourn.  Chapman said, “Crimestoppers was never involved other than being asked if they gave us the money could we pay it anonymously.”

Pastor White has sued the city of Memphis, and said that they know that this has not been handled properly because it has offered him $5,000 to settle the matter.  He said that the city wants him to turn over the names and contact information of people who helped him reach out to Wilbourn, and he refuses to do that.

It’s understandable if the city was going to claim that they didn’t believe that Pastor White qualified for the reward, but if they city is claiming that they don’t have the money to pay, they are going to have to find the money now or after they lose a lawsuit.