Ex-Alcorn officer pleads guilty to assaulting student

Published 12:07 am Friday, March 4, 2016

LORMAN — A former Alcorn State University police officer pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court to violating the civil rights of an arrestee.

Ex-officer Berthurm Allen, 42, admitted before Senior U.S. District Judge David Bramlette III of the Southern District that while acting under his authority as an ASU police officer, he elbowed the victim in the face and threw the person to the ground without legal justification.

Allen also admitted to misrepresenting the circumstances of the incident in his official police report.

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His actions caused injuries to the victim’s nose and face. The incident occurred at the Claiborne County Jail in Port Gibson, and was recorded by the jail’s surveillance cameras.

“The use of excessive force by law enforcement officers is a violation of the officer’s oath to protect the constitutional rights of all persons, even those in custody,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis of the Southern District of Mississippi. “Ensuring that law enforcement officers do not victimize the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect is a top priority of this office.”

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Jackson division, and was prosecuted by trial attorneys Julia Gegenheimer and Sheldon L. Beer of the civil rights division’s criminal section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Wansley of the Southern District of Mississippi.