Boston - A Plymouth police sergeant was charged today in federal court with using excessive force on an arrestee and covering up his actions by falsifying police reports.Shawn Coughlin, 45, of Plymouth, was charged with deprivation of constitutional rights under color of law and falsifying a record to impede a federal investigation.
The Indictment alleges that on Nov. 19, 2011, while at the Plymouth Police station, Coughlin assaulted an arrestee (“A-1”) who was in a holding cell and handcuffed behind his back. Coughlin allegedly struck A-1 in the head and kneed him in the body, resulting in bodily injury to A-1 and depriving A-1 of his right to be free from the intentional use of unreasonable and excessive force by someone acting under color of law. It is also alleged that Coughlin falsely stated in official police incident reports that A-1 “continued to resist by attempting to kick at the officers present . . . while still screaming obscenities and various threats.” It is also alleged that Coughlin omitted from the reports that he had struck A-1 in the head and kneed him in the body.
If convicted, Coughlin faces up to 10 years in prison, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the of the civil rights violation and up to 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the falsifying police reports charge.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Theodore Merritt and Kristina E. Barclay of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.
The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.