Former Hickory officer resentenced to 3 years in prison in 2013 case of excessive force on handcuffed woman
He was previously sentenced to a term of probation by a different U.S. District Court judge.
HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - A former Hickory police officer was sentenced to three years in prison after he was found guilty three years ago of using excessive force against a handcuffed woman in 2013.
Former officer Robert George will now serve 36 months in federal prison, with a year of supervised probation.
The incident took place in 2013 when officers saw a car parked improperly. Chelsea Doolittle was in the car at the time and admitted she had been drinking, but was not driving while driving.
[Source: Former police officer to be indicted for assaulting prisoner]
She also admitted she used foul language when asked for her registration.
The indictment against Robert George, the former officer, says he pulled her from the patrol car and slammed her against the ground. Doolittle’s injuries sustained from the incident later required oral surgery to repair.
According to indictments, the incident caused “serious bodily injury, the pushing of two of the victim’s bottom teeth, requiring surgery by an Oral Surgeon to correct the injury.”
George was also accused of lying about what happened to the department, saying she fell.
[Video released in case of former NC officer found guilty of using excessive force on handcuffed woman]
He was charged with using excessive force against a female arrestee and obstructing justice. George was arrested six years later and fired from the department.
Records show the state filed charges against George, but those were dropped when federal indictments were returned.
According to WBTV news partner The Charlotte Observer, George faced 70 to 87 months in prison after the 2019 conviction but was only given four years of probation instead.
George was previously sentenced to a term of probation by a different U.S. District Court judge, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for resentencing.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell issued a new sentence Thursday, amounting to 36 months in prison and one year of supervised release.
“A person’s constitutional rights do not cease to exist during or after an arrest,” said U.S. Attorney Dena J. King of the Western District of North Carolina. “A federal jury rightfully decided that former police sergeant George used excessive force against an individual in his custody, and today’s resentencing reflects the seriousness of his unlawful conduct. As federal prosecutors, we have a duty to protect everyone’s civil rights and to investigate and prosecute federal law violations involving police misconduct. We owe it to the people living in the Western District and to the thousands of law enforcement officers who serve and protect the public with honor and dedication.”
“Police officers who violently and unlawfully assault people in their custody, causing severe physical injuries and trauma, are not above the law and will be held accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This sentencing sends a strong message that the Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute officers who abuse their power by using unlawful force on people in their custody.”
“The security video of George’s actions that day in 2013, is sickening,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells of the FBI Charlotte Division. “We are grateful to our partners at the Hickory Police Department who immediately began an internal investigation and requested state and federal assistance. We hope today’s resentencing sends a message that no one is above the law, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Criminal Section Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimlani Ford from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.
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