Former Pine Lawn Lieutenant Indicted on Federal Charges
ST. LOUIS, MO—An indictment was unsealed earlier today charging former Pine Lawn Lieutenant STEVEN BLAKENEY with criminal civil rights charges arising from his arrest in 2013 of a candidate for the office of Mayor of the City of Pine Lawn.
According to the indictment, on March 31, 2013, Blakeney, while a police officer with the City of Pine Lawn Police Department, conspired with others to cause the arrest of a mayoral candidate based on false allegations and without probable cause. Blakeney ordered another person to falsely report that the mayoral candidate had stolen a campaign poster from a local business and then arranged for the candidate to be arrested.
United States Attorney Richard Callahan observed that the citizens of Pine Lawn deserved better of their public officials than they had been receiving and encouraged them to become more involved in their local government.
Blakeney was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on one felony count of conspiracy against rights, one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of falsification of records. The indictment remained under seal until Blakeney was taken into custody today by the FBI. Blakeney will have an initial appearance today before a United States Magistrate Judge.
If convicted, these charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Reginald Harris is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.