Prosecutors in Tennessee began making their case at trial against a former Memphis police officer, charged with depriving two women of their civil rights while acting under color of law more than 20 years ago. It took authorities several years to track down defendant Bridges Randle, who changed his name and fled the state.
By the time FBI agents apprehended Bridges Randle on June 14, 2022, he was working at the University of the Virgin Islands under the name Oluwafemi Banjoko. He was extradited to Tennessee a few days later.
Testimony and evidence presented by federal prosecutors began in Randle’s trial on Tuesday. Chief District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman swore in a jury of 12 plus two alternates to hear the case on Monday. Nine witnesses took the stand the following day, including a woman identified in court records as K.T.
Court documents submitted in the case allege that the defendant sexually assaulted K.T. while investigating a domestic violence complaint on June 24, 2000. Randle is charged with depriving the woman of her constitutional right to liberty while serving on duty as a police officer.
Identical charges appear in the second court facing the defendant at trial involving a second woman identified by the initials N.M. Prosecutors say that incident took place on July 19, 2001, again while Randle was on duty as a Memphis cop.
Section 242 of the United States Code, Title 18, makes it a crime for anyone serving under color of law to deprive another person of rights or privileges protected by the Constitution.
On Feb. 23, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Randle for depriving K.T. and N.M. of their civil rights by committing sexual assault. On Monday, as the trial began, the defendant dropped a motion to impose a statute of limitations that would have nullified the charges. The judge also allowed a stipulation made by the grand jury that the violations charged under 18 U.S.C. Sec 242 involved sexual assault.
If found guilty at trial, Randle faces a maximum life sentence in prison.
By the time authorities caught up with him on St. Thomas, the defendant had created a LinkedIn page introducing himself as Oluwafemi Banjoko, a senior contract and grants specialist and an adjunct professor at UVI. He also claimed to be a contract employee with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary on St. Thomas.