Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fulton County Jailer Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge of Excessive Force

DENITA RENAE SHAW, 41, of Smyrna, Georgia, a former Fulton County Sheriff’s Detention Officer, pleaded guilty today in federal court to a felony charge of violating civil rights by using excessive force against an inmate at the Fulton County Jail.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This officer violated the Constitution and her oath of office when she assaulted a handcuffed inmate. Now she faces the reality of becoming an inmate.”

FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said, “Today's guilty plea of former Fulton County Sheriff's Detention Officer Shaw demonstrates the commitment that the FBI has toward investigating and enforcing violations of civil rights laws. It is sad when those that violate these laws are within the law enforcement profession as it often can bring discredit to the entire profession thereby impairing or damaging the effectiveness of others within the profession.”

Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson said, “The inhumane treatment of persons in custody must cease. This case continues to show that excessive force and the disregard of policies and procedures at the Fulton County Jail will not be tolerated. When the civil rights of inmates are violated, we will pursue criminal charges and coordinate with federal authorities to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to Acting United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On January 26, 2009, SHAW, working as a detention officer at the Fulton County Jail, allegedly used excessive force when she struck a handcuffed inmate in the head with a milk crate at the Fulton County Jail. The indictment alleges that this assault violated the inmate’s constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law. SHAW was terminated as a result of the incident. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 4, 2010, at 10:30 a.m, before United States District Judge J. Owen Forrester.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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