WASHINGTON – A federal jury in Columbia, S.C., convicted Oddie Tribble, 51, a former police officer with the Kershaw County, S.C., Sherriff’s Office, of a civil rights violation for his use of excessive force on a man in his custody on Aug. 5, 2010.
According to evidence presented in court, Tribble struck Charles Shelley , 38, a handcuffed arrestee, more than 25 times with a metal baton, lacerating his skin and fracturing his leg. The assault was captured by video cameras at the Kershaw County Detention Center. Eyewitnesses to the beating, including law enforcement officers, testified that they were shocked to see the unjustified attack by a police officer.
“The jury ’s verdict demonstrates that no one is above the law, and that those who are sworn to protect our citizens will be held accountable when they violate the public tr ust and abuse the rights of individuals in their custody,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
“This is the first time in over a decade that a law enforcement officer in the state of South Carolina has been convicted by a federal jury at trial of using excessive force,” said U.S Attorney Bill Nettles. “We appreciate the work the FBI and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division put into this case so that the jury had a solid case to consider. Let's be clear, the reason the jury found Oddie Tribble guilty is that he used a metal baton to beat a hand-cuffed man who posed no threat. The jury's verdict shows that South Carolina will not tolerate misconduct by our law enforcement officers.”
Sentencing before Federal District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie is scheduled for May 12, 2011. Tribble faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Columbia, S.C., Division of the FBI with assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and was prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Christopher Lomax, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara McGregor.