Fmr. sheriff's investigator pleads guilty in handcuffed man's as - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Fmr. sheriff's investigator pleads guilty in handcuffed man's assault


A former criminal investigator with the Macon County Sheriff's Office pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to assaulting and injuring a handcuffed man at the county jail, according to a release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

J. Keith McCray, 41, was indicted by a federal grand jury back in November 2013 on two counts of depravation of rights under color of law and one count of witness tampering. The witness tampering count was based off allegations that McCray also intimidated the victim and persuaded him not to file an assault complaint.

McCray pleaded guilty to just one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law. When sentenced, he faces a maximum ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

The incident that lead to the indictment and ultimately McCray's guilty plea started on July 4, 2013 when the U.S. Attorney's office says the victim was going door-to-door in McCray's Tuskegee neighborhood attempting to sell alarm systems.

After McCray told the man he wasn't interested in buying a system and as the man was leaving, authorities say McCrary illegally seized the victim at gunpoint, then took the victim to the county jail where, while still handcuffed, the victim was assaulted.

The Dept. of Justice says the victim was struck four times in the face and head while still handcuffed, a time during which the victim posed no threat.

"The defendant attacked an innocent citizen who was simply trying to earn a living on the day of the incident.  When he assaulted the defenseless victim, he violated the trust put in him by the community as well as the law," said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

"While we look to law enforcement to maintain the safety and security of our citizens, their position of authority does not give them the right to act outside the bounds of the law," said George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. "We entrust them to protect and serve our communities.  While most members of law enforcement serve honorably, McCray breached this trust and must be held accountable. Failure to do so would discredit the noble service of every other officer, and weaken the public's trust in those who are sworn to protect them." 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly