MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A former Tuskegee police officer has been convicted for beating an arrestee who was handcuffed yet compliant with officer orders.
Lt. Alex Huntley, 54, was convicted Friday, according to U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin, FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell, and Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
According to evidence shown at trial, Huntley arrested a man who had a scuffle with police near the Tuskegee town square on Dec. 24, 2014. He then directed another officer to transport the suspect back to the city's police department for booking.
Prosecutors say once Huntley returned to the police department, he pepper sprayed the unnamed arrestee in the face despite him being handcuffed and following officer instructions.
What happened next horrified a police officer recruit, who then secretly recorded audio on his cell phone of the arrestee being assaulted.
Once inside the police station, Huntley knocked the still-handcuffed arrestee to the ground and then repeatedly kicked and punched him, prosecutors said
Between blows, Huntley stood over the arrestee and yelled threats at him as the arrestee screamed in pain.
"The majority of our police officers are dedicated to protecting and serving the public with strength, courage, and valor. Unfortunately, Mr. Huntley was not so dedicated," said U.S. Attorney Franklin. "Police officers walk a tough, yet honorable line every day. This office is committed to prosecuting any law enforcement officer who abandons their oath to protect and serve and, instead, chooses to engage in criminal conduct that they are sworn to oppose."
Huntley's conviction means he could face up to 10 years in prison, plus fines, and three years of supervised release. Federal sentencing does not include parole.
"Illegal conduct by officers who abuse their power and violate the civil rights of those in their custody will not be tolerated," said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. "The Department will continue to vigorously enforce our nation's laws and hold officers who break the law accountable."
Added FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell, "Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason, and a violation of someone's civil rights by a sworn law enforcement officer cannot be tolerated."
In addition to Huntley, former Tuskegee police officer Lt. Darian Locure, 45, was also charged with a civil rights offense and obstruction of justice. However, he was acquitted on all charges.