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Press Release

Ohio Police Officer Indicted for Assaulting an Arrestee and Obstructing Justice

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal grand jury today unsealed an indictment charging El’Shawn Williams, an officer in the Put-in-Bay Police Department, with using excessive force against a man in custody, and then making false statements and writing false reports to cover it up. The indictment alleges that Williams, 28, punched and struck the victim multiple times in the head and body, causing him bodily injury. 

The indictment was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division John Gore, United States Attorney Justin Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.

The indictment alleges that after the incident, Williams wrote a report that falsely minimized the force he used and failed to disclose that he struck the victim after the victim was restrained by another officer. It also alleges that Williams gave a false statement to an Ottawa County detective denying that he punched the victim, denying that he struck him in the face, and denying that he struck him after the victim was restrained by another officer.

If convicted, Williams faces a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment for the excessive force charge and up to 20 years imprisonment for each obstruction charge. An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was investigated jointly by the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau Investigation and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Freeman of the Northern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.    

Updated March 27, 2019

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 18-939