Former Meridian police officer pleads guilty to excessive force charge

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that a former officer with the Meridian Police Department pled guilty to using excessive force against a man during a vehicle stop and arrest. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, Daniel Starks shoved the victim twice as he was getting handcuffed by another officer and then unlawfully used his taser against the victim, even though the victim was compliant and handcuffed. While the victim was still on the ground after being tased, Starks pointed the taser at him and demanded that he stand up or else he would be tased again.

“Law enforcement officials who violate people’s federal civil rights are not above the law. This defendant is being held accountable for exceeding his authority and his power when he violated the victim’s civil rights,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to investigate and prosecute cases involving police officers who willfully violate the constitutional rights of others.”

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 26. The defendant faces a statutory maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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