Huntsville, Alabama, Police Officer Charges with Excessive Use of Force and Obstruction of Justice
The Justice Department announced that Huntsville, Alabama, Police Department Officer Brett Russell, 48, has been charged with deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly assaulting and injuring G.H., a detainee, on Dec. 23, 2011. Russell also has been charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly filing a false police report regarding this incident.
The indictment identifies the subject of the arrest by the initials, “G.H.” According to the indictment, Russell falsely stated in his incident report that G.H. kicked at officers, attempted to head-butt officers while they transported him to Russell's vehicle, that he was told to stop resisting several times but would not comply and that he was transported to the Huntsville metro jail “without incident.” Russell omitted from his report that he "had struck G.H. with his fist and kneed G.H. in the body," as the indictment says.
Russell faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the civil rights charge and 20 years for the obstruction charge. An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The investigation by the Florence Resident Agency of the FBI is ongoing. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Carroll McCabe of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Xavier O. Carter Sr. of the Northern District of Alabama.