A federal jury has convicted former Atlanta Police Department Sergeant Trevor King, of Stockbridge, Georgia, of using unreasonable force when he arrested a Walmart shopper who the officer wrongfully suspected of shoplifting a tomato. King beat the victim with his police-issue baton, breaking two bones in the victim’s leg. The jury also convicted King of writing a false incident report in an attempt to cover up his wrongdoing.
“Law enforcement officers all over the country work tirelessly every day to protect the public from violence,” said Acting Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Department. “This defendant violated the law and his oath as a police officer when he unjustifiably beat a man with a baton, breaking the man’s leg, because he wrongly believed that the man had stolen a tomato. The Department of Justice will continue to protect all citizens from violations of their constitutional right to safety and security.”
“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.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other evidence presented during the trial, Former Sergeant King was working off-duty as a security officer at a Walmart store near downtown Atlanta when he observed a shopper weigh a tomato and walk toward the store’s exit. King stopped the victim near the door and, within seconds, began to strike the victim with an ASP baton. King struck the victim seven times, breaking two bones in the victim’s right leg.
As the victim lay on the Walmart floor bleeding from his injuries, King searched the victim and found a receipt for the tomato in the victim’s bag. The receipt showed that the victim paid for the tomato only minutes before King’s attack. King then wrote a false report to cover up his unjustified assault. Additionally, King charged the victim with obstructing a shoplifting investigation and with assaulting a police officer.
Following emergency surgery at Grady Hospital, the victim was transported to the Fulton County Jail to be held on King’s bogus charges. The victim’s criminal charges were ultimately dismissed by a state prosecutor.