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A former Memphis police officer who was acquitted for raping a woman while on-duty has been indicted on federal civil rights charges in the case, according to officials.
Bridges Randle, 47, is charged with committing a civil rights offense that included aggravated sexual abuse, according to an indictment obtained by Oxygen.com. Randle was accused of raping a woman who reported a domestic violence vandalism incident, but was found not guilty of criminal charges in 2018.
Bridges was dispatched to a home in Memphis on June 24, 2000, after a woman reported reported her boyfriend was vandalizing her car with a baseball bat, according to the Commercial Appeal.
After officers departed the scene, Randle allegedly returned residence, told the woman he needed to document the damage and gained access to her home. Then, she said, he brandished his gun and sexually assaulted her.
Bridges was only identified as the perpetrator in the woman's reported rape 13 years later, after her rape kit was finally tested. He was arrested in 2014.
At Bridges’ 2018 trial, the woman testified about the terrifying experience while on the witness stand.
“He pulled me into my daughter’s bedroom, and he pushed me onto the bed,” the victim testified in court in 2018, WMC reported. “I put my hands up like that, and I asked him to stop.”
The woman claimed her daughter was sleeping in a nearby bedroom.
"I felt him raping me," she added.
During the trial, the woman’s daughter had to be escorted from court after she erupted in anger
“I’m going to kill him,” the woman’s daughter said of Randle in 2018. “I want him to die.”
Randle’s attorney, however, argued that the sexual assault was actually consensual and the former Memphis police officer was ultimately acquitted of all charges.
Randle did not testify during the week-long trial.
“The victim testified, the jury heard all the evidence in the case, and resolved the case in favor of the accused,” his lawyer, Leslie Ballin said at the time, per WMC. “Whenever you have a jury trial and the jury speaks, that is justice.”
"While we respect the jury's verdict and appreciate their service, we are deeply disappointed in the outcome," Shelby County District Attorney Gen. Amy Weirich said in a statement after Randle’s acquittal.
Randle reportedly was absent for the verdict, claiming he’d been stuck in traffic — which prompted prosecutors to threaten additional failure to appear charges.
"Can the state of Tennessee accuse my client of another crime of failure to appear?” Ballin stated at the time. “Absolutely. And I anticipate that to be done very shortly. As I told you, I'm not comfortable talking about what I know about his non-appearance but if he is charged with another crime, I can tell you that under our ethics it would be impossible for me to represent him in regard to that new charge based on what I know and I'm not telling you."
It is unclear if those charges were filed.
According to prosecutors, though Bridges was belatedly identified in the 2000 assault, he was arrested on a different sexual assault charge in 2001, in another case in which he assaulted a different woman who had reported domestic violence, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported. He was charged with rape in the case but ultimately pleaded guilty to "official oppression" and received a year's probation.
That is when, the paper reported, prosecutors say he changed his name to Ajamu Abiola Banjoko. In 2012, prosecutors say he was fired from a job at Georgia State University for allegedly sexually harassing underage girls. He was working at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Atlanta when he was arrested on the 2000 rape charges in 2014, according to the charging documents obtained by the Daily News.
After his acquittal, he changed his name to Oluwafemi Banjoko and moved to the Virgin Islands, where he obtained employment at the University of the Virgin Islands. The Daily News reports that he claims to have a Ph.D. and is employed as a senior contracts and grants specialist. The university told the paper in a statement that he is suspended pending a review by the university but that a third party background check turned up no information on the prior cases.
The U.S. Attorney's office has argued against bond in the case, the Daily News reported, noting Bridges' multiple name changes and his failure to appear for the verdict in his 2018 trial.
No further information was immediately available regarding the pending civil case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District Of Tennessee declined to comment on the open investigation on Thursday morning.
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