Frank William Carter, 43, a former police officer of the Laredo, Texas, Police Department (LPD), pleaded guilty today in federal court to violating the civil rights of an arrestee, the Justice Department announced today.
During his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña, Carter admitted that while using his authority as a LPD officer, he entered the backseat of a LPD patrol car where the victim was handcuffed and detained and struck the victim several times. According to information presented in court, rear-facing dash camera audio and video recordings revealed that Carter yelled obscenities at the victim while he punched the victim in the head and body. Carter also repeatedly slammed the victim’s face into the back of the seat. The victim remained handcuffed during the entire incident and never resisted or attempted to harm Carter.
“Mr. Carter has admitted that he used unjustified and unlawful force against a handcuffed arrestee,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez. “The Justice Department will continue to prosecute law enforcement officers who violate the constitutional rights of individuals in their custody.”
Judge Saldaña has ordered a pre-sentence report to be due April 11, 2013, at which time she will set sentencing date and decide whether to accept the guilty plea Carter entered today. Carter faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
This case was investigated by FBI Special Agent Anthony Manganaro and Texas Ranger Nathan Mutz. The case is being prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Ryan Murguía and Christopher Lomax, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.