McWhirter, 30, a five-year veteran assigned to the Union Station precinct as a patrolman, has been charged with sex trafficking, according to U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III, the FBI, and Memphis police.
"You would think the message would be loud and clear by now," said Police Director Toney Armstrong in a prepared statement. "We will do this as often as needed in order to rid this department of those who can't make up their minds as to whether they want to be a police officer or a thug."
According to an affidavit by FBI agent Matthew J. Ross, the investigation began on May 10, 2011, when a source reported seeing McWhirter on and off duty at Memphis nightclubs where patrons openly engage in drugs and sex. His cellphone was traced to frequent calls with women advertising on backpage.com.
"Affiant knows through experience in human trafficking investigations that backpage.com is commonly used as an advertisement website for prostitution," the affidavit says.
Last November, McWhirter brought three women to the nightclub "and announced openly the women belonged to him." He had sex with one of the women "in full view of other patrons" and was secretly recorded on video and audio tapes.
In June, the source asked McWhirter about providing women for a party. They spoke again this month and the source was told that it would not cost more than $50 for sex acts.
Them ho's are going to get what they get," McWhirter said in a recorded conversation.
They finalized the details last week in a meeting in McWhirter's patrol car in South Memphis. The source gave McWhirter $120 front money and received cellphone pictures of one of the girls. The party was set for Sunday night at a Tunica hotel which is not identified in the affidavit.
When McWhirter and two women entered the second-floor room, they were busted by FBI agents. McWhirter had his service handgun, a .40 caliber Sig Sauer semi-automatic. He reportedly admitted bringing the two women to Mississippi across state lines from Tennessee and admitted knowing one of them "was known to be a prostitute."