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Deputy U.S. Marshal Indicted for Federal Civil Rights Violation

WASHINGTON – Stephen Cook, a deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C., was indicted today by a federal grand jury on seven counts for using excessive force against a bound arrestee in violation of his federally protected civil rights and for covering up his illegal use of force.

Cook was charged with one count of depriving the civil rights of another while under color of law, one count of conspiracy, one count of false statements, two counts of tampering with a witness, and two counts of obstruction. According to the indictment, on Aug. 30, 2005, Cook was responsible for processing arrestees into the holding facility at the D.C. Superior Court. Cook then allegedly had a verbal quarrel with one of the arrestees, pulled the bound arrestee from the back of a police van, dragged him to the ground, and repeatedly struck him in the head with his fist. Shortly thereafter, Cook conspired with another deputy to compose false reports that would conceal the attack from his superiors. Both deputies submitted the false reports to the U.S. Marshals Service on Sept. 1, 2005. On Sept. 28 and Oct. 23, 2006, Cook contacted the deputy with whom he had conspired and told him to conceal the truth from a federal grand jury.

If convicted, the defendant faces the following maximum penalties for each of the counts listed below: 10 years in prison for deprivation of the civil rights of another while under color of law; five years in prison for conspiracy; five years in prison for false statements; 20 years in prison for obstruction, and 10 years in prison for witness tampering. Additionally, each of the aforementioned charges carries a potential fine of up to $250,000.

The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney Douglas Kern from the Civil Rights Division.