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Press Release

Former Des Moines, Iowa, Police Officers Indicted for Civil Rights Violations and Obstruction of Justice

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Des Moines, Iowa, returned an indictment today charging two former Des Moines Police Department Officers Mersed Dautovic and John Mailander with violations of federal criminal laws related to an incident involving an alleged assault against a civilian on Sept. 13, 2008, the Justice Department announced today.

Count one of the indictment charges Dautovic with a criminal civil rights violation for allegedly assaulting a man during a routine traffic stop. Specifically, the indictment charges that Dautovic physically assaulted the man with a baton, resulting in bodily injury to the victim. Count two of the indictment charges both Dautovic and Mailander with obstructing justice by falsifying a written statement about the incident.

Dautovic was arrested today and appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer in the Southern District of Iowa. A detention hearing has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, and trial has been scheduled for Jan. 30, 2011.


Upon conviction, the civil rights count in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The obstruction count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.


This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Des Moines Division, and is being jointly prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa and trial attorneys from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

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

Updated August 24, 2015

Press Release Number: 11-1685