Federal indictment for police brutality contrasts GOP election scare tactics

A federal grand jury indicted two former sheriff’s deputies on civil rights crimes for using excessive force during their employment with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio.

Meanwhile, Republicans across the country are cultivating false impressions of citizen movements designed to highlight abusive behavior in order to scare voters into supporting them.

Crime is not a monolithic problem, and jailing people cannot fix it, but simpletons in the GOP propose three word slogans instead of policies that actually diminish or solve complex problems.

Residents in New York’s 17th Congressional District were sent a mailer featuring pictures of Black men – one holding an ax, another in a mug shot, and a third wearing a hoodie – disparaging Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, along with state bail reform efforts and .

“I support good policing, but not treating rich and poor people differently, and not using racism to scare people, to win an election,” said Maloney. “We can have safe streets and a fair system.”

The Republican mailer promotes a narrative that is not only misleading about the impact of bail, which has often kept innocent people locked up for months and even years, but also plays into harmful racist stereotypes.

“Bail reform is a success — releasing more people from jail by minimizing or eliminating cash bail works,” according to Trisha Trigilio, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU. “More people get out of jail and get home to their families, without any jump people skipping town, and without any jump in crime.”

According to the federal indictment, Jeremy C. Mooney, 47, of Piketon, and William Stansberry Jr., 46, of Chillicothe, violated an American citizen’s constitutional rights on Nov. 18, 2019, while the victim, Thomas Friend, 27, had been booked into the jail for misdemeanor disorderly conduct and was in restraints at the Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

Mooney was caught on video as he used pepper spray repeatedly while the victim was restrained and not posing a threat.

Separately, Mooney also allegedly struck the victim while the victim was restrained.

While Mooney punched Friend 11 times in the face, the deputy broke his own hand.

The indictment charges that Mooney’s conduct involved the use of a dangerous weapon and resulted in bodily injury.

Stansberry is charged with violating the victim’s constitutional rights by willfully failing to intervene to prevent Mooney’s brutally abusive illegal conduct.

As alleged, Stansberry was aware that Mooney was using unreasonable force and did not intervene, despite having an opportunity to do so.

A local newspaper posted video of the incident, showing the two law enforcement officers dousing a man in custody with pepper spray and then punching him repeatedly while he was restrained.

“In the video, deputy Jeremy Mooney is seen attacking Thomas Friend, 27. Friend had been booked into the jail for misdemeanor disorderly conduct,” said a report in the Scioto Valley Guardian. “According to then-Sheriff Jim Nelson, Friend was spitting on other inmates in the transport van and things escalated from there.” He was placed in a restraint chair due to his behavior, the then-Sheriff said.”

If convicted, both men face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment on each count, a fine of up to $250,000 and a three-year term of supervised release. 

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers of the FBI Cincinnati Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI Cincinnati Field Office investigated the case.

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