Former South Carolina Trooper Sentenced to Halfway House
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina
June 23, 2009
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins stated that former South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper John B. Sawyer, age 34, was sentenced today for repeatedly kicking an arrested driver following a lengthy chase. Chief United States District Judge David C. Norton sentenced Sawyer to a probation term of three years, the first of which he will serve in a halfway house.
On May 28, 2006, Sawyer and other law enforcement officers were involved in a 30-mile high speed chase of a dump truck driven by Sergio Caridi on Interstate 95. After the truck ran out of gas in Sumter County, Caridi exited the truck and surrendered, lying on the ground. Sawyer rushed over to Caridi at that point, kicking him in the head numerous times, injuring him. Dash-cam video of the incident captured the assault on tape.
Sawyer pled guilty in the case last January, admitting that his actions willfully deprived Caridi of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.
Mr. Wilkins stated that the case was the result of a joint investigation by agents of the FBI and SLED, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alston C. Badger of the Charleston office and former Civil Rights Division Deputy Chief Brent Alan Gray, now an Assistant United States Attorney in Atlanta. Mr. Wilkins also acknowledged the cooperation and assistance of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety and its Director, Mark A. Keel.
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