July 28, 2021

Former Mississippi Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Using Excessive Force

Mary Apel

A former officer with the Meridian, Mississippi Police Department pleaded guilty to using excessive force during a 2018 vehicle stop and arrest.

According to court documents and statements, Daniel Starks of Meridian, Mississippi, unlawfully used his taser against the victim, despite the victim being compliant and handcuffed. In police dash camera footage, an officer later identified as Starks is seen shoving the victim to the ground and tasing him, then threatening to use the taser again if the man did not get up.

“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.”

“Those who abuse their positions of power will be prosecuted according to the law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi. “This defendant chose to violate his duty and the law, the very law he swore to uphold, by his wanton and violent act against the victim. Justice is served.”

“Law enforcement officers take an oath to serve and protect their communities,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Paul Brown of the FBI Jackson Field Office. “When an officer breaks this oath and abuses the authority given to them, they must be held accountable. Investigating violations of civil rights will continue to be a priority for the FBI.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 26. The defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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