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FORMER GEORGIA POLICE CHIEF CONVICTED ON FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2012

WASHINGTON – A federal jury in Valdosta, Ga., convicted defendant Walter Young, 54, the former chief of the Omega Police Department in Omega, Ga., for physically abusing a man in his custody, the Justice Department announced.

On March 24, 2011, Young, while acting in his capacity as the chief of police, assaulted Alfonso Moreno, a pretrial detainee, by repeatedly slapping and punching him in the head and face while he was fully restrained in a restraint chair, violating the civil rights of the detainee.  The defendant struck the victim eight times, causing him to bleed.  X-rays the next day showed the victim had a broken nose.  The assault was captured on the jail's video surveillance system.  The jury further found that Alfonso Moreno suffered bodily injury as a result of Young’s use of excessive force. 

“Most officers do their job with honor, but this officer abused the authority entrusted to him by his community,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez.  “The federal government will continue to vigorously prosecute individuals who violate the constitutional rights of others.”

The defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 29, 2012, before Judge Hugh Lawson, U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia.

This case was investigated by the FBI, and is being 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.

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