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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Former police officer fined $10,000 for assault on customer of St. Louis County DMV

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Matthews T. Schelp on Wednesday fined a former Northwoods, Missouri police officer $10,000 for assaulting a patron of a driver license office in Florissant.

Michael L. Bennett, 64, will also be on supervised release for one year.

On April 15, 2021, with his badge in his hand, Bennett struck the victim repeatedly, even after he’d knocked her to the ground, he admitted in a guilty plea.

Bennett, who was off-duty and in plainclothes, intervened in an altercation between a patron, identified in court documents as “S.T.,” and an employee of the license office. Bennett identified himself as a police officer and began to give S.T. commands. After Bennett and S.T. got in a verbal altercation, Bennett grabbed S.T. by the throat, released her and then struck her in the face with a closed fist. As she staggered backwards, he struck her multiple times.

Bennett then shouted at S.T. to leave. When she turned her back and attempted to walk away, he struck her in the back of the head with a closed fist, knocking her to the ground. 

He struck her with an open hand while she was on the ground. When she reached up to try and get off the ground, Bennett slapped her hand and punched her in the face again. He later punched her in the face once more. 

Bennett pleaded guilty in May to a misdemeanor charge of deprivation of rights under color of law and admitted that he had deprived the victim of the right to be free from unreasonable force.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

Updated August 31, 2022