Federal charges have been brought against a former Elmore County sheriff’s deputy for violating the civil rights of an arrestee by reportedly hitting him while he was handcuffed.
According to Douglas Howard, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the middle district of Alabama, Blake Hicks, aged 33, has been charged with deprivation of rights under color of law. The indictment claims that Hicks used unreasonable force against an arrestee by punching and kicking them around the head, while they were handcuffed and lying on the ground, causing injury. This act was committed without any legal justification, leading to the charge against Hicks.
Attempts to contact Hicks for comment were unsuccessful, and it appears that he has not yet retained legal representation as court records do not indicate otherwise.
According to the indictments, there was a case of alleged police brutality on March 5, 2022, which Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin has confirmed. The victim, identified only by the initials “T.Q.,” is listed in the indictment as a 26-year-old man.
Tristen Quinn, a 25-year-old resident of Wetumpka, was the victim identified in previous media coverage. On the night of March 22, he was pulled over by Wetumpka police officers due to a tail light being out. Hicks, along with another Elmore deputy, arrived at the scene as backup.
According to his attorney, Quinn can be seen on surveillance footage from a nearby business running into the frame while being handcuffed. Police reports indicate that officers resorted to using Tasers on Quinn twice. The footage clearly depicts Quinn falling on his back, and an officer jumping over his body to land with his feet on Quinn’s head. The officer can then be seen punching Quinn in the head at least twice, as shown in the footage.
In a previous media coverage, Quinn confessed that he did not present his identification to the officer who pulled him over. He clarified that he chose not to show his ID because the officer failed to provide a reason for the stop. As a result, the officer handcuffed him and placed him inside the police car. Quinn later revealed that he had fled from the vehicle.
According to Quinn’s attorney, Andrea Hatchcock, the officer who was captured on security footage stomping, punching, and kicking him is Hicks. Quinn was Tased during the incident.
After the incident, Quinn was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. He sustained serious injuries and was in need of immediate medical attention. In connection with the incident, Quinn was charged with a misdemeanor offense for resisting arrest in the Elmore County District Court, as confirmed by District Attorney CJ Robinson.
Howard stated that the Department of Justice adheres to the policy of refraining from commenting on ongoing investigations. As such, the DOJ has not provided any confirmation on the possibility of charges being filed against other officers involved in the incident.
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