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Former DeKalb Police Officer Indicted for Abusing His Position and Lying To Federal Agents

ATLANTA, GA. - DONALD BRISTOL, 41, of Lilburn, Georgia, was arraigned late yesterday on federal charges of aiding others to possess and conceal a stolen vehicle, failing to report a federal felony, unlawfully accessing government computer systems, and making false statements. BRISTOL made the appearance late yesterday afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Our citizens are entitled to police officers who will obey the laws that they have sworn to enforce. Not only did this officer violate the law, but his criminal conduct betrayed the trust of the people of DeKalb County and its police department.”

 Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division (AFD) said, “This case is a reminder that officers are held to a higher standard and are not above the law.  This officer is not representative of the honest, hard working men and women in law enforcement who do not violate their oaths, but faithfully serve the public daily.”

“It is an inescapable truth that law enforcement officers who choose to abdicate their sworn oaths of office add to the already immense challenges that the remaining law enforcement community must face.  While it is understandable that these types of cases add to some erosion of public trust, it should be noted that the vast majority of the law enforcement community takes their sworn oaths very seriously as well as such deviations from that oath as we've seen here,” said Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.

“The alleged criminal actions of this former officer tarnishes the DeKalb County Police badge, it erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement and undermines the continued efforts of the men and women who honorably serve the residents of DeKalb County,” said DeKalb County Police Chief William O'Brien.

According to Yates, the charges and other information presented in court were: Starting in April 2010, BRISTOL used his position as a DeKalb County Police Officer to help two separately-charged defendants to hide the fact that they possessed a stolen car. In addition, BRISTOL misused his access to a sensitive law enforcement database to provide his associates with information about criminal histories and outstanding arrest warrants. Finally, BRISTOL made numerous false statements to federal agents.

BRISTOL was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 25, 2011.  The indictment charges BRISTOL with aiding others to possess and hide a stolen vehicle, with failing to report and attempting to conceal a federal crime, with unlawfully accessing governmental information, and with lying to federal agents. The most serious of the charges carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the DeKalb County Police Department, and Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis is prosecuting the case.

DEA AFD’s SAC Rodney G. Benson, encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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