DeKalb County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Captain Charged with Encouraging Excessive Force at County Jail and Obstruction of Justice
Leonard Dreyer, a captain with the DeKalb County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia on charges of encouraging Dwight Hamilton, a former corrections officer, to use excessive force against an inmate at the DeKalb County Jail and for attempting to obstruct justice by persuading officers who witnessed the incident to write false reports. Dreyer was also charged with obstructing justice by making false statements to an FBI agent investigating the allegations.
Dreyer, 50, of Decatur, Georgia, was arraigned today. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 20, 2015.
Hamilton, who was indicted earlier this year for using excessive force and writing false reports, has been charged in the same indictment with additional counts of excessive force and obstruction of justice.
According to the indictment and other information presented in court: Dreyer began working for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office in 2004 and worked as a supervisor in the jail from 2010 to 2012. Hamilton worked in the jail from 2005 to 2012. In 2011 and 2012, Hamilton, who was supervised by Dreyer, tased inmates without justification, many of them multiple times, in five separate incidents during his time at the jail. The inmates suffered injuries as a result of the tasing. The superseding indictment charges that in all five instances, Hamilton used excessive force and thereby violated the inmates’ Constitutional rights.
Following four of the five tasing incidents, Hamilton wrote a false report with the intent of impeding, obstructing and improperly influencing the investigation. In the first report, Hamilton falsely reported that the victim “made a step toward” Hamilton immediately before Hamilton tased him.
In another report, Hamilton falsely wrote that the victim failed to comply with Hamilton’s commands before Hamilton tased him. Before one of the five incidents, Dreyer directed Hamilton to tase an inmate who was mouthing off to him. After Hamilton repeatedly tased the inmate without legal justification, Dreyer encouraged three witness officers to write false reports that were favorable to Hamilton and would justify the tasing. During the federal investigation of the incident, Dreyer also made false statements to an FBI agent.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray of the Northern District of Georgia and Trial Attorney Christopher Perras of the Civil Rights Division.