the takedown

Georgia Sheriff Sentenced for Using Excessive Force on Arrestees

Former Georgia Sheriff, Anthony Heath, 45, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised relief for using excessive force against two non-resistant arrestees.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, on June 29, 2016, Heath pleaded guilty to two counts of violating an individual’s civil rights for his involvement in two separate incidents in 2012 and 2014.

On Jan. 12, 2012, Heath and several deputies from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) engaged in an extended foot chase of an individual identified only as M.V., who they were attempting to arrest.  A BCSO deputy eventually saw M.V. in the woods and arrested him without incident.  When a deputy reported to Heath that M.V. was in custody, the sheriff ordered deputies to hold M.V. in the woods until he could get there.

When Heath arrived, M.V. was lying face-down on the ground, with his hands cuffed behind his back, and was not resisting arrest. Nevertheless, Heath kicked M.V. in the ribs, punched him in the head with a closed fist multiple times and forcefully kneed him in the ribs multiple times, causing M.V. to suffer pain and have difficulty breathing.  Heath bruised his hand punching M.V. in the head.

During a separate incident, on Oct. 14, 2014, Heath repeatedly punched and kicked another arrestee identified only as J.H., even though J.H. surrendered, lied down on the ground and did not attempt to flee or threaten anyone at any point after his arrest. 

Heath beat J.H., causing him to bleed from his mouth, and causing Heath’s own hand to become swollen and bruised. 

As a result of his conviction, Heath was removed from his position as sheriff. 

“When Heath beat compliant, handcuffed arrestees, he abused the public’s trust and did a disservice to his fellow colleagues in law enforcement, the vast majority of whom do their jobs with honor and integrity,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “The Justice Department will continue to ensure that law enforcement officers protect the rights of all individuals in their custody.”         

Posted in The Takedown

Tags: FBI, DOJ, excessive force

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