Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputies Charged with Use of Unreasonable Force
CINCINNATI—A federal grand jury in Cincinnati has charged Jeremy S. Hanshaw, 36, of Coal Grove, Ronald S. Hatfield, 25, of Waterloo, and Jason D. Mays, 22, of South Point, with conspiring to deprive, and depriving, an arrestee of civil rights while acting under the color of law as deputies of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and John A. Barrios, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, announced the indictment unsealed today.
The indictment alleges that on or about August 16 to August 17, 2014, while working as deputies at the Lawrence County Jail, Hanshaw and Hatfield slammed, kicked and punched a victim when that victim was handcuffed behind his back and was not resisting or posing a physical threat to any officer. The officers allegedly slammed the victim to the ground and restrained him in a chokehold while lying on top of the victim. The indictment further alleges that Hanshaw choked the victim and delivered an elbow strike to the victim’s head while the victim was restrained on a medical gurney. Then-deputy Mays allegedly struck the victim in the neck with a closed fist and attempted to block a surveillance camera while his fellow officers had the victim on the ground.
In addition, one or more of the defendants allegedly wrote false entries on logs and reports in which they created a false justification for the assault on the victim.
Conspiracy to deprive an individual of civil rights and deprivation of civil rights are crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The defendants were arrested on January 15, 2015 by FBI agents.
“Good policing practices are essential,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “Law enforcement strategies must be consistent with constitutional rights.”
“The protection of civil rights is one of the FBI’s highest criminal priorities,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge John A. Barrios. “The FBI is committed to holding accountable those who believe they can abuse the powers they have been granted.”
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the FBI and recognized the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Glatfelter and Alexis Zouhary, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.