Atlanta, Georgia - Dwight Hamilton, a former correctional officer at the DeKalb County Jail, pleaded guilty on Monday to abusing a female inmate by tasing her without any legitimate justification. Leonard Dreyer, Mr. Hamilton’s former supervisor at the DeKalb County Jail, previously pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct the federal investigation into Mr. Hamilton’s use of excessive force by making false statements to an FBI agent.
According to the charges and other information presented in court, Dwight Hamilton worked as a sergeant at the DeKalb County Jail, and on November 1, 2011, he responded to the medical floor of the jail when a female inmate, T.P., asked to speak to a supervisor because her family visitation had been unexpectedly cancelled. Rather than explain the situation, Hamilton tased T.P. until she defecated on herself. Hamilton, who had been trained on proper taser usage, admitted he knew that what he was doing was wrong and continued anyway. As a result of the tasing, Inmate T. P. suffered permanent taser burns to her breast.
“Any correctional officer who violates an individual’s right to due process and protection from unreasonable force will be held accountable under the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work to ensure that the civil rights of all individuals will be protected.”
“Officers who have sworn to maintain security and protect the inmates inside our county jails have a difficult job but despite challenges, most do their work in a professional manner,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “However, Hamilton ignored that oath and unlawfully punished an inmate by inflicting severe pain and causing a permanent injury. Hamilton’s conduct was clearly a violation of the inmate’s constitutional rights that warranted this criminal prosecution.”
“Monday’s guilty plea in federal court will clearly begin the process of holding former Dekalb County Corrections Officer Hamilton responsible for his criminal conduct involving the tasing of a female inmate,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “The FBI continues to play a significant role in investigating credible allegations of law enforcement misconduct, to include those occurring within a correctional facility, and presenting them, when appropriate, for federal prosecution as was the case with Mr. Hamilton.”
Dwight Hamilton, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten on February 8, 2018.
This case was investigated by the Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray of the Northern District of Georgia, and Trial Attorney Christopher Perras of the Civil Rights Division.