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Press Release

Former Missouri Police Officer Indicted, Accused of Sexually Abusing Handcuffed Detainees

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – A former officer with the North County Police Cooperative was accused in an indictment Wednesday of sexually assaulting men that he’d detained or arrested.

Marcellis Blackwell, 34, of St. Louis, was indicted on 21 felony counts: 16 counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, namely the right to bodily integrity, and five counts of altering records in a federal investigation. The indictment says that between Nov. 8, 2022 and June 5, 2023, Blackwell fondled the genitals of eight men who he had detained or handcuffed, committing abusive sexual contact. Blackwell also is accused in the indictment of sodomizing one of the men with his finger, an act of aggravated sexual abuse. The indictment also says Blackwell kidnapped the men and turned off his body camera prior to some of the incidents.

A motion seeking to have Blackwell, formerly known as Willis Green Overstreet III, held in jail until trial said Blackwell “victimized people he thought would be less likely to report his behavior.” Following media coverage of one victim’s report, seven more victims came forward, the motion says. The motion also says Blackwell’s phone contains videos of as-yet unidentified victims.

“The conduct alleged in the indictment is unacceptable for anyone, but infinitely more so for a police officer and when it involves handcuffed, helpless victims,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming. “We still have not identified all of the men who appear in recordings on the defendant’s phone and I’d like to encourage any potential victims to contact the FBI in St. Louis or the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

“We are not investigating the violation Blackwell cited to detain his victims,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay Greenberg of the FBI St Louis Division. “Our focus is on Blackwell’s alleged abuse of power to sexually assault his victims. Our goal is to bring justice to victims and to provide victim services.”
FBI St. Louis has established a hotline for potential victims of Marcellis Blackwell. Please call (314) 589-2682.

Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The FBI investigated the case, following an initial investigation conducted by the North County Police Cooperative. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Krug is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 28, 2023

Civil Rights