A federal grand jury in Albuquerque, N.M., has returned a one-count indictment charging former Belen Police Department Detective John Lytle with unlawfully assaulting a victim, identified in the indictment as R.A., during an investigative stop and arrest on March 15, 2012.
Lytle is charged with violating R.A.’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by a law enforcement officer, which includes freedom from the use of excessive force. The indictment alleges that Lytle unlawfully assaulted R.A. by striking R.A. while R.A. was in handcuffs. The indictment also alleges that Lytle’s actions resulted in bodily injury to R.A.
Lytle faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the civil rights violation.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the Federal Bureau Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico Mark T. Baker and Trial Attorney Julia Gegenheimer of the Civil Rights Division.