Former Hadley Police Officer Indicted for Unreasonable Force
A former Hadley, Massachusetts, Police Officer was arrested today and charged in federal court in Springfield in connection with using unreasonable force during an arrest.
Christopher M. Roeder, 48, of Feeding Hills, was charged in an indictment unsealed today with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of falsification of a document. Roeder will appear in federal court in Springfield this afternoon.
According to court documents, on April 3, 2017, while acting under the color of law, Roeder deprived a male arrestee of the right to be free from an unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer. It is alleged that during the arrest, Roeder struck the arrestee in the face - breaking the arrestee’s nose, which the arrestee would need plastic surgery to repair - without legal justification, while the arrestee was seated on a bench in the Hadley Police Department booking area.
The indictment alleges that Roeder subsequently attempted to obstruct the investigation into the assault on the arrestee by falsifying his police report describing the events that led to the assault. Roeder wrote that the defendant arrestee made an obscene comment toward Roeder and that when the arrestee was instructed to sit down, he sat down slowly, and then when Roeder attempted to handcuff the arrestee, the arrestee began to stand again. According to Roeder, he had no option but to deliver an elbow strike directly to the bridge of the arrestee’s nose in order to gain the arrestee’s compliance. Conversely, the indictment alleges that Roeder’s statements were false.
The charge of deprivation of civil rights under color of law resulting in injury provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of falsifying a police report provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division John Gore, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Deepika Bains Shukla of the District of Massachusetts’ Springfield Branch Office and Trial Attorney Timothy Visser of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.