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Press Release

Alabama Sheriff’s Investigator Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Handcuffed Man at Macon County Jail

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama - J. Keith McCray, a criminal investigator with the Macon County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office, pleaded guilty in federal court today to assaulting a handcuffed man at the county jail, resulting in bodily injury.

McCray, 41, of Tuskegee, Ala., was at his home on July 4, 2013, when the victim, a door-to-door salesman, spoke with McCray about purchasing an alarm system. McCray indicated that he was not interested in purchasing a system. As the victim began to leave McCray’s property, McCray unlawfully seized the victim at gunpoint and took him to the Macon County Jail. During the plea hearing, defendant McCray admitted that at the jail, he struck the victim four times in the face and head while the victim was handcuffed and posed no threat.

McCray pleaded guilty to one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law. At sentencing, McCray faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“The defendant attacked an innocent citizen who was simply trying to earn a living on the day of the incident. When he assaulted the defenseless victim, he violated the trust put in him by the community as well as the law,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “The Department will continue to hold accountable those who engage in such actions.”

“While we look to law enforcement to maintain the safety and security of our citizens, their position of authority does not give them the right to act outside the bounds of the law,” stated George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. “We entrust them to protect and serve our communities. While most members of law enforcement serve honorably, McCray breached this trust and must be held accountable. Failure to do so would discredit the noble service of every other officer, and weaken the public’s trust in those who are sworn to protect them.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Alabama 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 Chiraag Bains of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Telephone: (334) 551-1755
Fax: (334) 223-7617

Updated March 19, 2015