Deputy Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Lying Under Oath
Photo: Former deputy Justin Watson; WHNT.
Justin Watson, a former deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in Huntsville, Alabama, was sentenced to three years in prison for lying under oath with intent to obstruct a federal investigation, according to a press release from U.S. Department of Justice.
Watson was sentenced on Thursday, November 17, 2016 with a plea agreement, for charges stemming from bar fight.
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While off duty, Watson got into a fight at a bar with a handyman in August, 2012. For several weeks, Watson searched for the man, including at times, while on duty. Having observed the man driving his truck on the highway, Watson pulled him over—and ordered the man to get out.
Watson then began to hit the man in the face, strike him with a baton, and ultimately choke him until the man was unconscious.
During a criminal procededing stemming from this incident, Watson was alleged to have knowingly and falsely claimed under oath, that he had never seen the man before the traffic stop incident and denied previously fighting with the man at the bar.
Watson’s case was ultimately investigated by the FBI.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, stated that: “Watson lied under oath to obstruct an investigation into his violent assault of a motorist.”
Gupta also remarked that, “When officers deliberately try to impede federal investigations, their actions violate the law.”
U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama said that, “Although the vast majority of police officers perform their duties with integrity, Justin Watson did not, using his badge to interfere with an investigation into police misconduct.”
White Vance also added that, “Communities must be able to expect fair treatment from law enforcement. Watson violated the community’s trust and will now go to prison as a result.”