WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Columbia, S.C., returned an indictment today charging former South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper John B. Sawyer with a federal civil rights violation, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and W. Walter Wilkins, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina.
The indictment alleges that on May 28, 2006, in Sumter County, Sawyer unnecessarily struck and repeatedly kicked an arrestee resulting in bodily injury to the man. The indictment further alleges that Sawyer’s actions willfully deprived the man of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.
An indictment is only an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by special agents of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alston C. Badger and Civil Rights Division Deputy Chief Brent Alan Gray.