Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former St. Louis Cop Pleads Guilty of Attacking Handcuffed Suspect

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former St. Louis Cop Pleads Guilty of Attacking Handcuffed Suspect

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Deputy U.S. marshals led a former St. Louis police detective from federal court here in handcuffs Wednesday after he admitted beating a shackled suspect who had been found with the ex- officer's daughter's stolen credit card.

In pleading guilty of a felony charge of depriving someone of his civil rights, Thomas A. Carroll, 52, said he threatened Michael Waller, who was arrested July 22, 2014, at Ballpark Village. Carroll said he attacked Waller at a police station after a boss warned Carroll to stay away.

After Assistant U.S. Attorney Fara Gold described details of the crime, U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey asked Carroll if they were true.

"They're substantially correct," he said. Carroll disputes prosecutors' claims that he stuck a pistol in Waller's mouth and threatened him. The former officer also denies "obstructive behavior" after the incident, and disputes any claims that Waller was seriously injured. If proved at his sentencing hearing, those factors could add years to a prison term.

Prosecutors think Carroll should face seven to nine years, defense attorney Neil Bruntrager said, but without sentencing enhancements it would be 15 to 21 months. The July 7 sentencing hearing has the potential to turn into a mini-trial, with each side presenting its version of events.

After the hearing, prosecutors declined to comment.

Bruntrager described Carroll as a "highly decorated officer" "who did things the right way."

He said that Carroll's daughter's purse, wallet and ID were among items stolen from her car two days before her wedding. "It's not an excuse, but it's an explanation," Bruntrager said. "People can't lose sight (that) ... these guys are human."

Carroll is the second person to plead guilty in connection with the incident.

A former St. Louis prosecutor, Bliss Barber Worrell, 28, of Clayton, pleaded guilty previously to a felony charge of misprision of a felony. She admitted failing to tell supervisors and a judge what she knew, and covering it up with a bogus charge against the victim.

Carroll's and Worrell's plea agreements contain descriptions of the incident but differ on details.

Waller, then 41, was arrested by another officer. Carroll, on duty, confronted Waller, who was handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car. Carroll admitted yelling that Waller had made a "huge mistake" and "broke into the wrong girl's car," his plea says.

The detective followed the officer and Waller to the Central Patrol headquarters, where Waller was handcuffed and shackled to the floor of an interview room.

Carroll was ordered by a supervisor to stay away but entered the room and began yelling. He asked who had broken into the car, threw Waller into a chair and then into a wall. He also punched Waller in the torso.

He admitted knowing that it was "wrong and against the law to do so, and knowing that it violated his oath as a police officer to uphold the laws " his plea says. …

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