Former Deputy Sheriff from Choctaw County, Oklahoma, Sentenced for Civil Rights Violations
WASHINGTON – Former Choctaw County, Okla., deputy sheriff Ben Westley Milner was sentenced today in Muskogee, Okla., to serve 18 months in prison and two years supervised release for violating the civil rights of three men by assaulting them without legal justification.
In one incident, which took place on Oct. 31, 2005, Milner physically abused a truck driver following a traffic stop. In a second incident on Oct. 18, 2007, Milner assaulted two inmates at the Choctaw County Jail with a large axe handle. Milner was convicted on Sept. 24, 2009, on three counts of violating the civil rights of his victims and two counts of falsifying official reports.
"The investigation and prosecution of this case shows that the Department of Justice does not tolerate abuse of authority by the people we entrust to enforce our laws. The sentence imposed today shows the seriousness of these crimes," said Thomas E. Perez , Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
"Law enforcement officers in the Eastern District of Oklahoma are generally well trained in the exercise of reasonable force. We expect that they will survive the dangers inherent in their shifts of work and return home to their families and loved ones. But when those who swear to obey the law, violate that law, a day of reckoning awaits," said U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
The convictions resulted from an investigation by the Oklahoma Division of the FBI, and a prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Burris for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and Trial Attorney Ryan McKinstry for the Civil Rights Division.