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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Former Alabama Sheriff’s Investigator Sentenced to 36 Months for Assaulting Handcuffed Man at Macon County Jail

Montgomery, Alabama - J. Keith McCray, previously a criminal investigator with the Macon County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office, was sentenced today by Judge Myron H. Thompson to 36 months in prison and two years of supervised release for assaulting a handcuffed man at the county jail, announced the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama.

An indictment against McCray, 42, charged that on July 4, 2013, he violated the civil rights of a door-to-door salesman who was selling alarm systems in McCray’s Tuskegee, Alabama, neighborhood. On April 4, 2014, McCray pleaded guilty to one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law. At the plea hearing, McCray admitted that he arrested the salesman and transported him to the Macon County Jail. There, McCray struck the victim four times in the face and head while the victim was handcuffed and posed no threat.

“In attacking a defenseless innocent civilian, this officer chose to abuse his power rather than uphold his oath to protect the public,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal misconduct.”

“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. “Most members of law enforcement serve honorably and professionally. McCray breached his pledge to protect and serve and he must be held responsible for his actions. 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 was being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerusha T. Adams and Jonathan Ross of the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Chiraag Bains of the Civil Rights Division.

PRESS CONTACT: Clark Morris
Email: usaalm.press@usdoj.gov
Telephone: (334) 551-1755
Fax: (334) 223-7617

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Updated March 16, 2015