Former Tallassee Police Officer Indicted for Civil Rights Violations and Obstruction of Justice
Montgomery, Alabama – A federal grand jury unsealed an indictment today charging Michael Brandon Smirnoff, 25, a former officer at the Tallassee Police Department in Tallassee, Alabama, with federal civil rights and obstruction offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. Smirnoff is charged with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, and one count of obstruction of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1519.
The indictment alleges that Smirnoff twice used unlawful force on arrestees and submitted a false report to cover up one of the incidents. In the first incident, on March 29, 2016, Smirnoff slammed a handcuffed man to the ground, then used unreasonable force while placing him into a police vehicle. In a second incident on July 5, 2015, Smirnoff tased a man who had already been placed in handcuffs and was not physically resisting. As a result of these unjustified uses of force, both victims sustained bodily injuries. The indictment further charges that Smirnoff obstructed justice by submitting a false report about the second incident.
If convicted, Smirnoff faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the deprivation of rights charges and 20 years in prison for the obstruction charge, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Simpson of the Middle District of Alabama and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer.