Former Tallassee, Alabama, Assistant Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Beating Suspect During Interrogation
Former Tallassee, Alabama, Assistant Police Chief, Chris Miles, 41, pleaded guilty today in a federal court in Montgomery, Alabama, to one count of deprivation of rights and two counts of false statements, for beating a suspect with a phone book-sized packet of paper during an interrogation and then lying about the incident to an FBI agent investigating the matter. Miles also pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute for abusing his position as assistant police chief to steal approximately 16 pounds of marijuana from an evidence room, later selling it to a known drug dealer.
During the plea hearing, Miles admitted that in April 2013, while he was on duty as assistant police chief, he beat a prisoner who was serving a sentence at Tallassee Jail while he was interrogating the inmate about uncharged crimes the inmate was suspected of having committed. During the interrogation, Miles grabbed a thick packet of copy paper and used it to strike the victim multiple times across the victim’s face and head. Miles also repeatedly slapped the victim across the face and head with his hand. Miles’ abuse caused the victim to suffer bruising, redness and physical pain.
“The defendant intentionally violated a man’s fundamental civil rights and threatened to weaken the public’s confidence in our criminal justice system when he decided to beat a suspect into a confession, and to further engage in narcotics trafficking,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “His blatant criminal conduct undermines the dedicated efforts of the vast majority of law enforcement officers who serve honorably. The Justice Department will continue to protect the rights of all individuals, including those in custody, to be free from such abuse and criminal conduct.”
“Miles was a maverick, working outside the law,” said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama. “Fortunately the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officials act reasonably and within the bounds of the Constitution.”
Miles is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama at a date to be determined. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the deprivation of rights count. For each of the other counts, he faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
This case was investigated by the Auburn Resident Agency of the FBI’s Mobile Field Office, with the cooperation of Alabama’s State Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerusha T. Adams of the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Gabriel Davis of the Civil Rights Division.