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Two Ohio Sheriff’s Deputies Indicted on Civil Rights Charges

WASHINGTON – Two Lucas County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputies were charged today with violating the civil rights of a juvenile who was in their custody, conspiring to obstruct and actually obstructing a federal investigation of the incident. The two defendants, Troy Jackson, 45, and Marc Odoms, 38, both of Toledo, were charged with violations of federal law for depriving the rights of the victims while acting in their official capacity as sheriff’s deputies, tampering with witnesses and conspiring to obstruct justice. Odoms was also charged with making false statements.

The indictment charges that on Jan. 20, 2005, Jackson, while on official duty, physically assaulted a handcuffed juvenile detained at the Lucas County Juvenile Justice Center by striking him multiple times in the eye and the side of the face. The indictment further charges that Odoms watched the assault and failed to intervene and that Jackson and Odoms subsequently both agreed to and eventually did obstruct a federal investigation of the assault by creating false written reports and making false statements to authorities investigating the incident.

If convicted, both men face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and fines of $250,000 on each criminal civil rights and obstruction charge. Odoms faces an additional five years in prison on the false statements charge.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In fiscal year 2006, nearly 50 percent of the cases brought by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division involved such prosecutions. Since fiscal year 2001, the Department of Justice has convicted 50 percent more defendants for excessive force and official misconduct than in the preceding six years.

An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Kristy L. Parker and Eric Gibson of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.