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April 27, 2015

Two Former Marion Police Officers Sentenced for Using Excessive Force While Tasing a Woman

WASHINGTON—Franklin Brown, 35, and Eric Walters, 39, both former police officers with the city of Marion Police Department in Marion County, South Carolina, were sentenced to serve 18 months and one year and one day in prison, respectively, today in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, by U.S. District Court Judge R. Bryan Harwell for repeatedly tasing a former local female resident during the course of her detainment. For both defendants, three years of supervised release will follow the prison sentences and they each face a $100 special assessment. Brown and Walters previously pleaded guilty to violating the victim’s civil rights during this incident.

According to court documents, on April 2, 2013, in the course of detaining the victim, Walters tased the victim causing her to fall to the ground and injure her head. Once she was on the ground, Walters continued to tase the victim multiple times. Brown subsequently arrived on scene and proceeded to tase the victim as she was seated on the curb, restrained in handcuffs and surrounded by law enforcement. Walters and Brown admitted there was no legitimate law enforcement purpose for repeatedly tasing the victim as she did not pose a threat to the officers.

“The defendants abused their authority as law enforcement officers by repeatedly tasing a defenseless, compliant victim,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “Today’s sentence is a reminder that this type of abusive and dishonorable behavior will not go unpunished.”

“I thank the Marion Police Department, the FBI and the Civil Rights Division,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles of the District of South Carolina. “Due to their collective efforts in concert with our office, the officers in this case were brought to justice.”

Today’s sentence resulted from the investigative work of the FBI’s Myrtle Beach Division. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Henry Leventis and Nicholas Murphy of the Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Potterfield of the District of South Carolina.

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