A former Alcorn State University police officer pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to violating an arrestee’s civil rights.
Berthum Allen, 42, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge David Bramlette III to elbowing a victim in the face and throwing him to the ground without legal justification while acting under his authority as an ASU police officer, according to a release form the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Allen also admitted that he misrepresented the circumstances surrounding the incident in his official police report to minimize his exposure to allegations of misconduct. Officials said the incident, which occurred at the Claiborne County Jail in Port Gibson, caused injuries to the victim’s nose and face, and was recorded by the jail’s surveillance cameras.
“When police officers violate the laws they swear to uphold, it threatens the credibility of our criminal justice system,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute and hold accountable those officers who violate the constitutional rights of people in their custody.”
“The use of excessive force by law enforcement officers is a violation of the officer’s oath to protect the constitutional rights of all persons, even those in custody,” said U. S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis. “Ensuring that law enforcement officers do not victimize the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect is a top priority of this office.”
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Jackson Division, and is being prosecuted by Julia Gegenheimer and Sheldon L. Beer of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Wansley of the Southern Districti.