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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


OCTOBER 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER CLAY COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY PLEADS GUILTY

TO USING EXCESSIVE FORCE, OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Department pleaded guilty in federal court today to violating a defendant’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during an arrest and to obstruction of justice.


            Donald A. Devens, 59, of Smithville, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this afternoon to the federal charges that were filed against him on May 27, 2008. Devens was a Clay County deputy for four years before resigning on Oct. 7, 2005.


            On Aug. 16, 2005, while Devens was on road patrol near Kearney, he began pursuing a pickup truck that was traveling at a high rate of speed. Eventually, Devens along with Kearney, Mo., police officers stopped the vehicle, which was driven by Wesley A. Lewis, and Lewis was arrested.


            Devens physically assaulted Lewis as he lay on the ground during the arrest, kicking him in the groin then punching him in the throat while he was restrained by handcuffs. Devens admitted that this assault deprived Lewis of his Constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by one acting under color of law, resulting in bodily injury to Lewis. Devens pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law.


            Devens also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Devens admitted that he destroyed a videotape recording of Lewis’ arrest that was taped from Devens’ patrol vehicle. Devens destroyed the videotape in order to obstruct the investigation involving Lewis’ arrest.


            Under federal statutes, Devens is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roseann A. Ketchmark. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html