BOONEVILLE — A former Booneville police officer is accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on duty as well as taking items including cash and drugs from other victims.
Former officer Dustin Rambo was arrested last Friday, March 12 by FBI agents from the agency’s Jackson field office. He is charged with one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law – privacy/bodily injury and four misdemeanor counts of deprivation of rights under color of law – unreasonable search/seizure/taking of property without due process. He made his first appearance Friday in US District Court in Oxford where he was released on a $5,000 bond
The case will be presented to a federal grand jury at a later date.
“Rambo allegedly sexually assaulted the victim who believed that they were in custody of law enforcement. Following the alleged sexual assault, the victim was released without being charged. Also, on four separate occasions, Rambo allegedly took personal possession of cash, a debit card, prescription narcotics, and other personal items,” the FBI said in a statement released late Friday.
An affidavit filed with the federal court by the FBI special agent who investigated the case states the investigation began in June 2020 when Booneville Police Department officials contacted the FBI regarding complaints against Rambo.
The alleged assault victim told the FBI agent she was approached by Rambo while walking across the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel in Booneville. She said the officer took a marijuana joint from her and threw it on the ground and then told her to get into his patrol vehicle.
“Even though Rambo did not place restraints on her, she believed she was under arrest,” states the affidavit.
The document says the victim told the agent Rambo drove her to a warehouse parking lot in the city where he violently sexually assaulted her. The agent states Rambo denied any such contact with the woman but did acknowledge encountering her at the hotel and transporting her in his patrol vehicle two times that night.
The affidavit also states four other individuals in Booneville told the agent items were taken from them by the officer during arrests in separate incidents.
The agent’s affidavit also states Rambo was allowed to resign instead of being terminated from the Mississippi Department of Transportation in 2013 after his supervisor discovered he had stolen approximately $300 from fees collected by the office. The MDOT supervisor told the FBI agent Rambo admitted to taking the money. The affidavit states he later falsely answered questions regarding the resignation when applying for jobs at the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department and the Booneville Police Department.
Rambo’s employment was terminated February 2 by the Booneville Board of Aldermen on the recommendation of Police Chief Michael Ramey who said at the time the termination was due to “conduct unbecoming a police officer”.
The police department issued the following statement Tuesday about the officer’s arrest.
“The arrest of former Booneville police officer, Dustin Rambo, has been a dark and devastating matter for our agency. We began an internal investigation immediately upon receiving a complaint alleging illegal conduct perpetrated by Mr. Rambo. That investigation led to our agency forwarding our findings to the F.B.I. and requesting their assistance. We remained in the F.B.I.’s investigation and were totally cooperative throughout. We assisted in every way we could. Again, we are devastated by the arrest of one of our former officers, but our agency absolutely does not tolerate any misconduct or illegal activity by our officers. We believe in total transparency and are committed to professionalism and integrity. We must move forward from this incident as an agency and put it behind us to serve our community to the best of our abilities. We also want to reiterate the F.B.I.’s request that anyone with any information about this case, please contact the FBI at (601) 948-5000 or tips.fbi.gov.”
Mayor Chris Lindley released the following statement regarding the arrest.
“It is with much disappointment that a former Booneville Police Officer, Dustin Rambo has been arrested by the F.B.I. After receiving a complaint, the Booneville Police Department began an internal investigation into the alleged conduct. Once enough information was obtained, the F.B.I. was called in to lead the investigation. The Booneville Police Department assisted in the investigation and took part in the arrest of Dustin Rambo. While knowing that there was an investigation, I did not know the details. As your mayor, we must operate all Departments in the City of Booneville with integrity and honesty. Illegal behavior will not be tolerated. It is our oath to provide services to our citizens and protect our citizens from conduct such as this. I am proud of the job that our Chief, our CID and The F.B.I. have done in investigating this matter and stopping the illegal behavior. Please keep in mind the F.B.I. is still asking for any information about this case be reported. Contact information: 601-948-5000 or tips.fbi.gov”.
The FBI is continuing to seek information regarding Rambo’s activities and is asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of similar incidents involving the former officer or who may have information related to the case to contact the agency at 601-948-5000 or at tips.fbi.gov
The case is being investigated by the FBI Jackson Field Office’s Resident Agency and the Booneville Police Department.
“The public is reminded that these charges are merely an accusation, and those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” said the FBI statement.