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Friday, April 18, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Forest Park, Illinois, Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Civil Rights Violation

WASHINGTON – Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, together with Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Division of the FBI, announced today that Michael Murphy, a sergeant with the Forest Park Police Department, pleaded guilty in federal court to using excessive force against a man in Forest Park, Ill.

Murphy was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 6, 2003, for the color of law offense stemming from the stop of a man in Forest Park. Murphy admitted that while on duty, he sprayed the victim in the face with pepper spray without justification and then repeatedly struck him with an expandable baton. The victim suffered several injuries, including a broken wrist. Murphy also admitted to falsifying his police report in an effort to conceal his use of excessive force.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights prosecutions. During the past six years, the Department of Justice has convicted nearly 50 percent more defendants for official misconduct than during the preceding six years.

This case was investigated by special agents from the Chicago Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Betsy Biffl and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sergio E. Acosta.