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Press Release

Former Deputy Sheriff in Madison County, Alabama, Charged with Civil Rights Violations and Obstruction of Justice

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced that Justin Watson, 29, a former deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, turned himself in today following an indictment on July 30, 2015, when he was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly assaulting and injuring R.B. on Aug. 22, 2012.  The indictment charges Watson with a second civil rights violation for allegedly conducting an unlawful traffic stop of R.B. 

Watson also has been charged with three counts of obstruction of justice.  The indictment alleges that Watson obstructed justice by providing false and misleading testimony in a criminal proceeding in state court and by corruptly persuading two witnesses.

Watson faces a maximum sentence of eleven years in prison for the two civil rights charges and sixty years in prison for the three obstruction counts.

The investigation by the Huntsville Resident Agency of the FBI is ongoing.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian of the Justice Department and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Updated August 4, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-957