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Press Release

Former Pike County deputy sentenced to more than 8 years in prison for excessive use of force

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A former Pike County deputy was sentenced in federal court here today to 100 months in prison for committing civil rights violations while employed as a law enforcement officer.

In August 2023, Jeremy C. Mooney, 49, was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of violating a victim’s constitutional rights by pepper spraying and punching the victim in the head, while the victim was in the custody of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and posed no threat to himself or others. The jury found that Mooney’s offenses involved the use of a dangerous weapon and resulted in bodily injury.

“This defendant is being sentenced for the violent assault of an inmate who was confined to a restraint chair and unable to protect himself or escape from the abuse,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “All people in our country have a right to be free from excessive force by law enforcement officers. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute any law enforcement officer who willfully violates the civil rights of the people they are sworn to protect and serve.”

“Communities trust in law enforcement officers to uphold the rule of law and, as public servants, they must honor that responsibility, not deprive individuals of their civil rights,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “Law enforcement officials who abuse their powers like Mooney did will be held accountable.”

According to court documents and trial testimony, on Nov. 18, 2019, Mooney transported the victim from the jail to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, where he placed the victim in a restraint chair. The restraint chair secured the victim’s hands behind his back and prevented him from being able to move most of his body. For more than an hour, Mooney unlawfully used force against the victim on several occasions.

Mooney dragged the victim — who was in the restraint chair — outside and pepper sprayed him directly in the face. The victim writhed in pain and tipped the chair back off the curb, landing on his back. Mooney then stood over the victim and deployed the pepper spray directly into the victim’s face a second time. Mooney brought the victim back inside the building and walked away. Over the course of several minutes, Mooney returned to that part of the building, where the victim was still handcuffed and secured in the restraint chair and punched the victim in the head 11 times. Mooney punched the victim with enough force to break his own hand.

A former Pike County Sheriff’s Office supervisor, William Stansberry Jr., 47, of Chillicothe, Ohio, was also charged. Stansberry violated the victim’s constitutional rights by willfully failing to intervene to prevent Mooney’s conduct. He pleaded guilty in July 2023 to deprivation of civil rights under color of law and was sentenced on March 5 to six months in prison. Stansberry was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, with the first six months to be served under home detention.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; and Elena Iatarola, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. Assistant United States Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate and Trial Attorney Cameron A. Bell from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are representing the United States in this case.

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Updated March 27, 2024

Civil Rights