ATLANTA – Dwight Hamilton has been sentenced to one year in prison for abusing a female inmate by tasing her without any legitimate justification. Leonard Dreyer, Hamilton’s former supervisor at the jail, was sentenced on Tuesday February 6, 2018, to 21 days of confinement in a halfway house for attempting to obstruct the federal investigation into Hamilton’s use of excessive force by making false statements to the FBI.
“Abuse of power by any law enforcement officer is always unacceptable,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Law enforcement officers stand in the gap every day to keep us safe, whether they are patrolling a beat, or a correctional officer working in a jail or prison. Hamilton’s conduct is not reflective of how we expect officers to conduct themselves. In this country, even those incarcerated have the right to fair treatment and decency.”
“Hamilton’s unjustified violent actions grossly violated the civil rights of an inmate whom he had a sworn duty to protect,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Any unlawful act of violence or malice by an officer against an inmate will not be tolerated by this Department of Justice.”
“It is a corrections officer’s duty to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in his or her custody,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office. “This sentence reaffirms the FBI’s commitment to hold those who fail to do so accountable. However, it should not obscure the fact that the majority of men and women working in correctional facilities conduct themselves admirably under challenging conditions.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Hamilton, who worked as a sergeant at the DeKalb County Jail, admitted during his guilty plea that on November 1, 2011, he responded to the medical floor of the jail when an inmate asked to speak to a supervisor because her family visitation had been unexpectedly cancelled by jail staff. Rather than explain the situation to the inmate, Hamilton tased the inmate until she defecated on herself. Hamilton, who had been trained on proper Taser usage, admitted that he knew that tasing the inmate under these circumstances was wrong but did it anyway. As a result of the tasing, the inmate suffered permanent scarring to her breast.
Dwight Hamilton, 54, of Atlanta, Georgia, has been sentenced to one year in federal prison. When Hamilton is released from prison, he will be under federal supervision for three years. Hamilton pleaded guilty to his charge on November 20, 2017.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray and Trial Attorney Christopher Perras of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.