Former chief of the Omega, Ga., Police Department, Walter Young, 54, was sentenced today for physically abusing a man in his custody, the Justice Department announced.
U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson sentenced Young to 24 months in prison for violating the civil rights of a pretrial detainee while acting in his capacity as the chief of police.
According to evidence presented at trial, on March 24, 2011, the former police chief assaulted the detainee, Alfonso Moreno, by repeatedly slapping and punching him in the head and face while he was fully restrained in a restraint chair. Young struck Mr. Moreno a total of eight times, breaking Moreno’s nose. Young’s excessive use of force was captured by the jail’s video surveillance system. A federal jury convicted Young on Aug. 1, 2012.
“There was no excuse for this use of force on a restrained individual and excessive force by those sworn to uphold the law will not be tolerated,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute law enforcement officers who violate the constitutional rights of others.”
“We trust our law enforcement officers to protect and serve the people of their community,” said Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. When we discover violations of that trust, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will use all of our resources to see that those officers who broke the law are made to account for their actions.”
This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Tona Boyd of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia and the support of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.