U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia
(404) 581-6000
June 18, 2015

Former DeKalb Detention Officer Charged with Using Excessive Force on County Inmates

ATLANTA—Dwight Hamilton, a former sergeant with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, has been arraigned on charges of using excessive force against inmates at the DeKalb County Jail and for writing false reports about the incidents.

“Detention officers have a difficult job as they maintain order and protect inmates in our county jails and prisons. But under no circumstances can we allow a detention officer to abuse his power to commit violent and unnecessary assaults on inmates, nor can we stand by and allow that officer to file false reports to cover up such an incident,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.

Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The rule of law very much applies to the correctional setting, both for the inmates and the correctional staff. While the vast majority of those working within these correctional facilities carry out their mission admirably, the FBI remains committed toward investigating and presenting for prosecution those individuals who would violate an inmate’s civil rights under the color of law.”

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Hamilton worked as a detention officer at the DeKalb County jail from 2005 to 2012. On two separate dates in January 2012, while Hamilton was a supervisor on his shift, he used his Taser multiple times on inmates without justification. The inmates sustained injuries as a result of the tasing. The indictment charges that in both instances, Hamilton used excessive force and thereby violated the inmates’ constitutional rights.

Following each of the tasing incidents, Hamilton wrote a false report with the intent to impede, obstruct and improperly influence the investigation. In the first report, Hamilton falsely reported that the victim inmate “made a step toward” Hamilton immediately before Hamilton tased him. In the second report, Hamilton omitted that he tased the inmate more than three times.

Hamilton, 51, of Atlanta, Ga., who was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 17, 2015, was arraigned today before Magistrate Judge Janet F. King.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray and DOJ Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Christopher Perras are prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Presse-mails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

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