U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
(505) 346-7274
June 23, 2015

Former Belen Police Department Detective Sentenced for Using Excessive Force Against Arrestee

ALBUQUERQUE—John Lytle, 42, a former detective with the Belen Police Department in Belen, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court for violating an arrestee’s civil rights by assaulting him during the course of an investigative stop and arrest.

Lytle was sentenced to five years of probation. As part of his plea agreement, Lytle is precluded from working or seeking future employment as a law enforcement officer in any capacity. He also must forfeit his law enforcement certification.

During his guilty plea in April 2014, Lytle admitted that on March 15, 2012, while working in his capacity as a Belen Police Department detective, he repeatedly struck the victim, identified by the initials R.A., who was handcuffed and compliant during the entire course of the investigative stop. Lytle further admitted that, at one point during the stop, he pulled the handcuffed victim from the back of a police squad car, threw him to the ground, and struck him again. The victim suffered injuries to his face and torso as a result of Lytle’s assault.

The conviction in this case resulted from the investigative work of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico Holland S. Kastrin and Trial Attorney Julia Gegenheimer of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

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