WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury in Kentucky returned a 10-count indictment against Barren County Sheriff Christopher Eaton and Sheriff’s Deputies Danny McCown, Aaron Bennett, Adam Minor and Eric Guffey.
The indictment charges that the defendants used unreasonable force on and injured a man they captured following a vehicle pursuit on Feb. 24, 2011, thereby violating his civil rights. According to the indictment, the defendants assaulted and aided and abetted others in assaulting the victim. Eaton further failed to prevent officers under his command from assaulting the victim.
The indictment also charges each defendant with making false statements to the FBI concerning the assault. In addition, Eaton was charged with falsifying police reports in an effort to cover up the assault, and for tampering with a witness by directing him to create a false report concerning the incident.
The civil rights charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count, and the false statements charges carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. Additionally, Eaton faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of witness tampering and for falsification of reports.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Roy Conn and Sanjay Patel of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.