Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Former Choctaw County, Oklahoma, Deputy Sheriff Found Guilty of Civil Rights Violations

WASHINGTON – Former Choctaw County, Okla., deputy sheriff Ben Westley Milner was found guilty today by a federal jury in Muskogee, Okla., of violating the civil rights of three men by assaulting them without legal justification. In one incident, which took place on Oct. 31, 2005, defendant Milner physically abused a truck driver following a traffic stop. In a second incident on Oct. 18, 2007, Milner assaulted two inmates at the Choctaw County Jail. Milner was convicted on three counts of violating the civil rights of his victims and two counts of falsifying official reports. He faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison for each civil rights offense and 20 years for each obstruction offense.

"The Department of Justice does not tolerate abuse of authority by the people we entrust to enforce our laws," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

"We will continue to prosecute vigorously law enforcement officers who violate the public trust as this defendant did."

"The jury spoke clearly. Jailed inmates are not punching bags or dusty rugs to be beaten by a jailer. Our consistent message has been that we will protect honorable law enforcement officers and legitimate law enforcement actions. Clearly excessive force violates our Constitution, federal law and our standards of decency," said U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The convictions resulted from an investigation by the Oklahoma Division of the FBI, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Burris for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and Trial Attorney Ryan McKinstry for the Civil Rights Division.

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