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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Former Police Officer Charged with Using Unreasonable Force, Obstructing Justice

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged Robert Wells, 49, of Pataskala, Ohio, with crimes related to using excessive force as a law enforcement officer in an indictment returned here today.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced the charges.

According to the indictment, on May 1, while acting in his then official capacity as a Franklin County Township Police Officer, Wells kicked an individual in the head while the victim was lying handcuffed on the ground. This deprived the victim of his Constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer and resulted in bodily injury to the victim.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that Wells then made false and misleading statements in his report relating to the arrest of the victim in order to cover up the excessive force and create a false understanding of the circumstances surrounding the arrest and injury.

Deprivation of rights under color of law is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison when it results in bodily injury. Obstructing a federal investigation carries a potential maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Criminal Chief Kenneth L. Parker and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, who has been designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated September 20, 2018