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Press Release

Former Ohio Sheriff's Office Deputy Sentenced for Violating the Civil Rights of an Inmate by Using Excessive Force

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former Pike County, Ohio, Sheriff's Office deputy was sentenced today to 100 months in prison and three years of supervised release for federal civil rights violations involving excessive force.

In August 2023, Jeremy C. Mooney, 49, was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of violating a victim’s constitutional rights by pepper spraying and punching the victim in the head, while the victim was in the custody of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and posed no threat to himself or others. The jury found that Mooney’s offenses involved the use of a dangerous weapon and resulted in bodily injury.

“This defendant is being sentenced for the violent assault of an inmate who was confined to a restraint chair and unable to protect himself or escape from the abuse,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “All people in our country have a right to be free from excessive force by law enforcement officers. The Justice Department will continue to prosecute law enforcement officers who willfully violate the civil rights of the people they are sworn to protect and serve.”

“Communities trust in law enforcement officers to uphold the rule of law and, as public servants, they must honor that responsibility, not deprive individuals of their civil rights,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio. “Law enforcement officials who abuse their powers like Mooney did will be held accountable.”

“As a law enforcement officer, Mooney had a duty to protect the civil rights of everyone in his community,” said Special Agent in Charge Elena Iatarola of the FBI Cincinnati Field Office. “By abusing a person in his custody, he violated his oath and federal law. The FBI will continue to hold accountable rogue officers who commit civil rights violations and use excessive force against those they are sworn to protect.”

According to court documents and trial testimony, on Nov. 18, 2019, Mooney transported the victim from the jail to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, where he placed the victim in a restraint chair. The restraint chair secured the victim’s hands behind his back and prevented him from being able to move most of his body. For more than an hour, Mooney unlawfully used force against the victim on several occasions.

Mooney dragged the victim — who was in the restraint chair — outside and pepper sprayed him directly in the face. The victim writhed in pain and tipped the chair back off the curb, landing on his back. Mooney then stood over the victim and deployed the pepper spray directly into the victim’s face a second time. Mooney brought the victim back inside the building and walked away. Over the course of several minutes, Mooney returned to that part of the building, where the victim was still handcuffed and secured in the restraint chair, and punched the victim in the head 11 times. Mooney punched the victim with enough force to break his own hand.

A former Pike County Sheriff’s Office supervisor, William Stansberry Jr., 47, of Chillicothe, Ohio, was also charged. Stansberry violated the victim’s constitutional rights by willfully failing to intervene to prevent Mooney’s conduct. He pleaded guilty in July 2023 to deprivation of civil rights under color of law and was sentenced on March 5 to six months in prison. Stansberry was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, with the first six months to be served under home detention.

The FBI Cincinnati Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate for the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Cameron A. Bell of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

Updated March 28, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-356