News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2007

Indictment Unsealed Charging Civil Rights Violations By Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy And Former Shelby County Deputy In Case Investigated As Part Of Operation Tarnished Blue

SEP 28 -- (Memphis, TN) - An indictment against former Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Pretti and current Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Duston Garrett was returned on September 27, 2007, and unsealed today. The defendants are charged with violating the Civil Rights of two individuals, through unlawful searches, seizures and assaults. This announcement was made today by David Kustoff, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, Mark Luttrell, Shelby County Sheriff, and My Harrison, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Memphis Division.

The indictment alleges that the defendants were aided and abetted in the violations by Thomas Braswell. Thomas Braswell was separately indicted by a federal grand jury for receiving a $500 bribe, violating an individual's civil rights and making false statements to a federal investigator, in an indictment returned on March 20, 2007. On September 13, 2007, Braswell pleaded guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (bribery) and 18 U.S.C. § 242 (Civil Rights), and he is awaiting sentencing.

The indictment returned yesterday alleges violations of 18 U.S.C. § 242. Section 242, one of the federal Civil Rights Laws, provides in relevant part that "Whoever, under color of any law ... willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

The indictment alleges the following violations, involving three incidents:

Count 1 (charging a violation of section 242's misdemeanor provision): In or about March and April 2006, Pretti and Garrett, aided and abetted by and aiding and abetting each other and Thomas Braswell, violated Clarence Brown’s right to be secure in his person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, by unlawfully entering the residence of Clarence Brown at 1590 Bridgewater Road, Cordova, Tennessee, and seizing Clarence Brown, without a warrant or legal justification.

Count 2 (charging a violation of section 242's felony provision): In or about March and April 2006, Pretti (aided and abetted by and aiding and abetting Thomas Braswell) violated Brown's right to be secure in his person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, including the right to be free of a law enforcement officer's use of excessive force during a seizure, by unlawfully assaulting Clarence Brown, which conduct included the use of a dangerous weapon, which conduct resulted in bodily injury and which conduct included kidnapping, that is forcibly transporting Clarence Brown, against his will, from his residence at 1590 Bridgewater Road, Cordova, Tennessee, to an isolated location on Charles Bryan Road, Cordova, Tennessee where he was assaulted.

Count 3 (charging a violation of section 242's felony provision): In or about March 2006, Pretti (aided and abetted by and aiding and abetting Thomas Braswell) violated Brian Pilcher's right to be secure in his person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, including the right to be free of a law enforcement officer's use of excessive force during a seizure, by unlawfully assaulting Brian Pilcher, which conduct resulted in bodily injury.

Count 4 (charging a violation of section 242 felony's provision): On or about April 23 and 24, 2006, Pretti and Garrett (aided and abetted by and aiding and abetting Thomas Braswell) violated Brian Pilcher's right to be secure in his person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, including the right to be free of a law enforcement officer's use of excessive force during a seizure, by unlawfully assaulting Brian Pilcher, which conduct resulted in bodily injury.

David Kustoff, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee commented, “The Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures are among our most important and fundamental Civil Rights. When law enforcement officers violate these basic rights not by mistake but through serious misconduct, they are subject to federal prosecution, and this United States Attorney’s Office considers such cases to be one of our highest priorities.”

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell commented, “It is vital our staff uphold the high standards of duty and service to the community. When that does not happen, those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The penalties for a violation of the misdemeanor provision in section 242 (alleged in Count 1) is a maximum prison term of one year, a fine of no more than $100,000, and a term of supervised release of no more than one year, together with a mandatory special assessment of $25. The penalties for a violation of section 242 which involves a kidnapping, as alleged in Count 2, are a maximum prison term of life, a fine of no more than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of no more than three years, together with a mandatory special assessment of $100. The penalties for a violation of section 242 which involves bodily injury, as alleged in Counts 3 and 4, are a maximum prison term of ten years, a fine of no more than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of no more than three years, together with a mandatory special assessment of $100.

In addition to the agencies listed above, assistance was provided by the Memphis offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Memphis Police Department. These agencies are participating with the Internal Revenue Service in Operation Tarnished Blue, and this matter was investigated as part of Operation Tarnished Blue. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Colthurst, with the Memphis office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.