Former jail Sergeant pleads guilty to abusing inmate at DeKalb County Jail
ATLANTA – Former DeKalb County corrections officer Dwight Hamilton has pleaded guilty to abusing a female inmate by tasing her without justification. Leonard Dreyer, Hamilton’s former supervisor at the jail, previously pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct the federal investigation into Hamilton’s use of excessive force by making false statements to the FBI.
“Officers who have sworn to maintain security and protect the inmates inside our county jails have a difficult job but despite challenges, most do their work in a professional manner,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “However, Hamilton ignored that oath and unlawfully punished an inmate by inflicting severe pain and causing a permanent injury. Hamilton’s conduct was clearly a violation of the inmate’s constitutional rights that warranted this criminal prosecution.”
“Any correctional officer who violates an individual’s right to due process and protection from unreasonable force will be held accountable under the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work to ensure that the civil rights of all individuals will be protected.”
“This guilty plea in federal court will clearly begin the process of holding former Dekalb County Corrections Officer Hamilton responsible for his criminal conduct involving the tasing of a female inmate. The FBI continues to play a significant role in investigating credible allegations of law enforcement misconduct, to include those occurring within a correctional facility, and presenting them, when appropriate, for federal prosecution as was the case with Mr. Hamilton,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Dwight Hamilton worked as a sergeant at the DeKalb County Jail, and on November 1, 2011, he responded to the medical floor of the jail when a female inmate, T.P., asked to speak to a supervisor because her family visitation had been unexpectedly cancelled. Rather than explain the situation, Hamilton tased T.P. until she defecated on herself.
Hamilton, who had been trained on proper taser usage, admitted he knew that what he was doing was wrong and continued anyway. As a result of the tasing, Inmate T. P. suffered permanent taser burns to her breast.
Sentencing for Dwight Hamilton, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, will be February 8, 2018, before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray and Trial Attorney Christopher Perras of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.