Prince George's County Police Officer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison in K-9 Incident.
December 10, 2001FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTVIRGINIA EVANS(410) 209-4885
Prince George's County Police Officer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison in K-9 Incident
Greenbelt, Maryland - Thomas M. DiBiagio, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Ralph Boyd, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and Lynne A. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced former Prince George's County Police Officer to ten years in federal prison for intentionally violating the civil rights of a homeless man by releasing her police dog to attack him after he had surrendered, had his hands up, and offered no resistance. The ten-year sentence is the maximum term of imprisonment allowed by law for such a violation. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. In August of this year, a federal jury convicted Stephanie Mohr of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 242; that is, the deprivation of civil rights under the color of law. The evidence presented at trial, including the testimony of a Takoma Park Police Sergeant who previously pleaded guilty in connection with the same incident, showed that before Mohr released her police dog on two non-resisting suspects, Corporal Anthony Delozier, who was acquitted at trial, asked the Takoma Park Sergeant if the dog could "take a bite" out of the victims. The Takoma Park Sergeant responded "Yes." Mohr then released her dog on the victim and another unidentified Prince George's County Officer beat the second homeless man for no reason.
While calculating the sentence in the case, Judge Chasanow ruled that Mohr had twice committed perjury when she testified at the trials in the case. She also enhanced the sentence because she found that Mohr took advantage of the fact that the victim was physically restrained at the time of the offense.
Thomas M. DiBiagio, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, stated, " This case is not about the hundreds of dedicated police officers who, every day, do an extremely difficult and dangerous job. This case is about an officer who needlessly crossed the line and abused her position of trust."
Ralph Boyd, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights stated,"This sentence sends a powerful message to those who violate the law by abusing their police power. The bad acts of a few rogue officers cannot be allowed to tarnish the reputation of officers everywhere. Those who place themselves above the law rather than enforce it, will be punished accordingly."
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Baltimore Division, and both DiBiagio and Boyd praised the professional manner in which the F.B.I. handled the case.
Lynne Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, Baltimore Division, added, "The F.B.I. is committed to conducting civil rights investigations in a thorough and impartial manner and will investigate allegations wherever they arise."
This case was prosecuted by Steven M. Dettelbach, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland and Alexander Busansky, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division.