WASHINGTON – Former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents, Gregory Reynolds and John Forman, were sentenced yesterday for using excessive force to violate the civil rights of two motorists they assaulted during an unjustified traffic stop. Reynolds received 30 days in jail and 11 months of home detention; Forman received 12 months of home detention. Both defendants pleaded guilty in late 2006 to willfully violating the civil rights of the victims.
The sentences arise from an Aug. 29, 2004 incident when the defendants stopped two motorists as they drove away from a local nightclub. According to documents filed in federal court, a third agent who was with the defendants on the night of the assault used anti-gay slurs to refer to one of the victims as they left the nightclub. The third agent then ordered Reynolds and Forman to pursue the victims in their vehicle. The defendants then conducted a stop during which they used unnecessary physical force to remove the victims from their truck. As a result of the assault, one of the victims suffered a spiral fracture to his arm and lacerations to his face and was transported to a hospital. The defendants followed the victim to the hospital where they confronted him, and tried to get him to agree that he would not file a complaint against them if they would not charge him with driving under the influence of alcohol. The victim ordered the agents to leave, and accordingly, Reynolds and Forman filed a DUI charge against him. Forman later testified falsely against the victim in Hinds County Justice Court in relation to the DUI charge.
“In our country, all Americans are treated equally under the law, and are entitled to the full protection of our civil rights laws,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The federal government will continue to vigorously prosecute law enforcement officers for using excessive force against our citizens.”
This case was investigated by FBI special agent Phillip McDonald, and was prosecuted by special litigation counsel Paige Fitzgerald of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.