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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Former Police Officer Sentenced to Prison for Using Unreasonable Force

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A former Franklin Township police officer was sentenced in U.S. District Court today for using excessive force as a law enforcement officer.

 

Robert Wells, 49, of Pataskala, Ohio, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. Wells was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

 

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge James L Graham.

 

Wells was charged by indictment in September 2018. According to the charging document, on May 1, 2018, 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, 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.

 

Wells pleaded guilty in December 2018.

 

“This result reflects the determination of the United States that the willful use of excessive force under color of state law not only won’t be tolerated in the Southern District of Ohio, it will be punished,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman. “The defendant’s conviction and sentence of imprisonment vindicates the interests of justice, including vindicating police officers, who have among the most dangerous and difficult and important jobs in society today. The defendant rightfully apologized in court today for tarnishing their badge.”

 

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.

 

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Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated June 19, 2019