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Press Release

Former North Carolina Police Sergeant Resentenced for Using Excessive Force Against an Arrestee

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that Robert George, 49, was resentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell to three years in prison and one year of supervised release in connection with a 2013 incident that occurred while he was a Sergeant with the Hickory Police Department in North Carolina.

On Jan. 17, 2019, a federal jury convicted George of using excessive force for assaulting a woman whom he had arrested and transported to the Hickory Police station. George was previously sentenced to a term of probation by a different U.S. District Court judge following the trial, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for resentencing.

The evidence at trial established that on Nov. 11, 2013, George assaulted a woman following her arrest. George forcibly pulled the handcuffed woman out from his police car and slammed her face-down onto the ground in the driveway just outside of the police station’s sally port. The forceful impact with the pavement caused the woman to suffer serious injuries that included a broken nose, severe dental trauma that required multiple surgeries and facial lacerations. Following the assault, George locked the woman in a cell and placed a spit-hood over her head because she was bleeding severely. The assault was captured by the police station’s security camera.

“Police officers who violently and unlawfully assault people in their custody, causing severe physical injuries and trauma, are not above the law and will be held accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This sentencing sends a strong message that the Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute officers who abuse their power by using unlawful force on people in their custody.”

“A person’s constitutional rights do not cease to exist during or after an arrest,” said U.S. Attorney Dena J. King of the Western District of North Carolina. “A federal jury rightfully decided that former police sergeant George used excessive force against an individual in his custody, and today’s resentencing reflects the seriousness of his unlawful conduct. As federal prosecutors, we have a duty to protect everyone’s civil rights and to investigate and prosecute federal law violations involving police misconduct. We owe it to the people living in the Western District and to the thousands of law enforcement officers who serve and protect the public with honor and dedication.”

“The security video of George's actions that day in 2013, is sickening,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells of the FBI Charlotte Division. “We are grateful to our partners at the Hickory Police Department who immediately began an internal investigation and requested state and federal assistance. We hope today's resentencing sends a message that no one is above the law, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Criminal Section Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimlani Ford from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

Updated February 17, 2022

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 22-143