Former Fort Deposit, Ala., police officer Carlos Tyson Bennett, 37, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller to 37 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $500 in restitution. Bennett was sentenced for stealing money from motorists during traffic stops, with another former Fort Deposit police officer, Jessie Alan Fuller, on Interstate 65 in 2009.
Bennett pleaded guilty on Aug. 29, 2012, to one count of conspiracy against rights and four counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. During his plea, Bennett admitted that he and Fuller conspired to pull over vehicles under the guise of legitimate law enforcement activity and to steal cash from drivers and passengers in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. Bennett acknowledged that he and Fuller worked together, acting with each other’s knowledge and cooperation and typically sharing the stolen money. In May and June 2009, Bennett committed four specific thefts, taking between $100 and $200 per victim. Bennett further acknowledged that he and Fuller tried to cover up their conspiracy when authorities began to investigate.
Fuller previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Aug. 28, 2012.
“This defendant betrayed the public trust when he took advantage of his position of authority to steal from those he pledged to serve,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting those who abuse their authority and violate the Constitution.”
“Police officers are here to protect public, not exploit the public,” stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. “When law enforcement officers take advantage of people they are supposed to be serving, they must be punished. This case shows that my office will continue to do everything under law to protect public from criminals, even when the criminal is a law enforcement officer.”
This case was investigated by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation; the Butler County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office; and the Lowndes County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gray Borden for the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Chiraag Bains from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.