Former Atlanta Police Sargent Trevor King Convicted On Federal Charges of Using Excessive Force
On October 13, 2014, a Walmart customer in Atlanta, Georgia was attacked by a security guard, accused of shoplifting. The security officer was 48-year old, off-duty Atlanta police Sargent Trevor King.
King used his department issued expandable baton hitting the customer multiple times, breaking the customer’s leg in two places. King alleged to seeing the customer, 53-year old Tyrone Carnegay, weigh a tomato then try to exit the store without paying. However, Tyrone had a receipt for the tomato in the bag.
In April 2016, Tyrone filed a lawsuit. His attorney, Craig Jones, told the NY Daily News:
“He got whacked seven or eight times across the shin and actually broke both bones, both the fibula and the tibula,” Carnegay’s lawyer, Craig Jones, told the Daily News. “This tomato not only cost him the dollar they overcharged him. It also cost him over $75,000 in medical bills, which I intend to get them to pay many times over.”
The lawsuit names Walmart, King and another employee as defendants.
Tyrone was chained to his hospital bed. The broken leg wasn’t his only injury. He also suffered a ruptured artery that later oozed blood out of his cast.
Because of the cost of the tomato, Tyrone believed that he was overcharged, and after paying for it, returned to the produce section and checked the price on a scale. He went back in line to challenge the cost, but then decided not to and left the line. A security employee alerted King who assumed that Tyrone was leaving the store without paying for the tomato. Tyrone had actually bought $20 worth of items in the store.
After the lawsuit was filed, the Atlanta Police Department opened an investigation.
In December 2016, a federal grand jury indicted King for violating Tyrone’s civil rights by using excessive force. The indictment was announced by then Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney John Horn of the Northern District of Georgia. The Atlanta Police Department placed King on paid administrative leave. He has since retired. King was put on paid administrative leave. In January 2017, King retired.
In July 2017, King went to trial. His attorney argued that Tyrone might have exchanged the tomato he paid for with a larger tomato. The jury deadlocked. CBS reports that the hung jury was 8 to 4 in favor of an acquittal. The government retried King,
On Friday, December 8, 2017, the DOJ announced that the jury in the retrial convicted former Atlanta Police Department Sergeant Trevor King, of using unreasonable force when he arrested a Walmart shopper who the officer wrongfully suspected of shoplifting a tomato. The jury also convicted King of writing a false incident report in an attempt to cover up his wrongdoing.
To cover-up his unjustified assault, King wrote a false report and charged the victim with obstructing a shoplifting investigation and with assaulting a police officer. Surveillance camera in Walmart is contrary to King’s report.
Following emergency surgery, the victim, Tyrone Carnegay, was transported to the Fulton County Jail to be held 3 days on King’s bogus charges. The victim’s criminal charges were ultimately dismissed by a state prosecutor a year after the incident.
“It is extremely disheartening when a law enforcement officer abuses his or her authority and the public’s trust,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The actions of this officer are especially insulting to the vast majority of those in law enforcement who work so hard with integrity and commitment within the criminal justice system. The FBI will continue to dedicate significant resources to investigate allegations of public corruption involving police officers.”
I was not able to find any reports on when King will be sentenced.
On May 8, 2018, the Atlanta Journal reported that Trevor King was sentenced to five years in prison.