An off-duty police sergeant in Atlanta, Georgia was trying to stop a shoplifter at his local Walmart one afternoon in October 2014.
The problem? He broke the man’s leg over one tomato; he made up a story to cover his tracks; and, as it turned out, he was wrong about the theft in the first place.
Former Police Sergeant Trevor King of Stockbridge, Georgia was convicted by a federal jury on Friday of using excessive force on Tyrone Carnegay, and breaking two bones in his leg with a baton. King, 49, wrote a false incident report, alleging that the shopper had assaulted him (which was not true).
Jury Convicts Former Atlanta Police Sergeant for Using Excessive Force to Break Walmart Customer’s Leg https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/jury-convicts-former-atlanta-police-sergeant-using-excessive-force-break-walmart-customer-s …
When the police officer, working off-duty as a security guard for Walmart, noticed Carnegay weigh a tomato and walk toward the store’s exit, Carnegay said he had a receipt for it, prosecutors said. Ignoring him, Carnegay struck him seven times with the baton. As Carnegay lay bleeding on the floor of the Walmart, King searched him and found the aforementioned receipt, according to the Department of Justice. However, King proceeded to make up the assault story, charging Carnegay with obstructing a shoplifting investigation and assaulting a police officer, and he took him to jail.
“It is extremely disheartening when a law enforcement officer abuses his or her authority and the public’s trust,” David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement about the incident.
Carnegay, who now has a titanium rod in his leg, told local station WSB-TV that, after the assault, he was chained to a hospital bed in Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a ruptured artery and broken bones. Carnegay’s charges weren’t dropped until one year later.
“When he found the receipt and the money and everything,” said Carnegay, “he just stared at it like he hadn’t done nothing.”
“This defendant violated the law and his oath as a police officer when he unjustifiably beat a man with a baton, breaking the man’s leg, because he wrongly believed that the man had stolen a tomato,” Acting Attorney General John Gore, of the Civil Rights Department, wrote in a statement.
Carnegay is suing Walmart and King. King retired from the Atlanta Police Department in January of 2017, and the trial began in July of 2017.