WASHINGTON – Brent E. Wells, a former police sergeant with the East Alton, Ill., Police Department, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill., to violating the civil rights of a civilian by assaulting the man during an arrest in front of Wells’s home on Sept. 11, 2010, the Justice Department announced.
Yesterday in court, before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Donald G. Wilkerson, the former sergeant admitted he assaulted a man who had just been arrested trying to gain unlawful entry into Wells’s home. After calling for other officers to respond to the attempted break-in, Sergeant Wells, who was not on duty, helped the other on-duty officers take the man into custody. Well then escorted the man, in handcuffs, to a patrol car, where he told his fellow officers, “I’m gonna make him piss blood,” before punching the man several times in the kidneys.
“The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute any officer who abuses his or her authority and uses excessive force,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
At sentencing, Wells faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Scott of the Southern District of Illinois and by Trial Attorneys T. March Bell and Patricia Sumner of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.