Atlanta, Georgia - Federal District Court Judge Steve C. Jones today sentenced Trevor King, 50, a former sergeant with the Atlanta Police Department to five years in prison for using excessive force when he arrested a Walmart shopper who the officer wrongfully suspected of shoplifting a tomato and for writing a false report about the incident in an effort to cover up his crime. King was convicted on Dec. 8, 2017, following a jury trial. Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore, U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, and David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta made the announcement.
“The defendant abused his authority as a police sergeant when he used a baton to brutally assault an innocent man and wrote a false report to cover up his crime,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore for the Civil Rights Division. “This sentence reflects the Department’s commitment to prosecuting official misconduct cases and sends a strong message that any abuse of power will not be tolerated.”
“King was punished today for willfully violating the Constitution by misusing his power to violently assault and injure an innocent man,” said U. S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “To make matters worse, he wrote a false incident report in an attempt to make the victim sound like the aggressor. King’s egregious misconduct is an affront to law enforcement officers who serve honorably and uphold their oath of office with integrity.”
“It is our duty in the FBI to uphold our Constitution and laws, which prohibit law enforcement officers from willfully using excessive force against non-resistant subjects,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Sgt. King should have respected his authority, like the vast majority of his fellow law enforcement officers who serve and protect.”
According to evidence presented during King’s trial, on the evening of Oct. 13, 2014, the victim, Tyrone Carnegay, was grocery shopping at a downtown Atlanta Walmart store. After purchasing groceries, Carnegay returned to the produce aisle to weigh a tomato for which he believed he had been overcharged. Former Sergeant King saw Carnegay on the store’s security monitor weighing the tomato, and then walking out of the store after placing the tomato back into a bag. Suspecting that Carnegay was stealing the tomato, King withdrew his asp baton and stopped Carnegay at the store’s exit door. Within seconds of the stop, King began to strike Carnegay on his legs with the metal baton. After several blows, Carnegay fell to the floor. As he lay on the floor, King delivered a final baton strike, causing a compound fracture to Carnegay’s leg. After the assault, King found a receipt in Carnegay’s pocket for the groceries he had purchased, including the tomato.
King charged Carnegay with misdemeanor offenses for allegedly assaulting and obstructing a police officer, and authored a false police report justifying the beating. In that report, King claimed that Carnegay had attempted to push past King and had reached for King’s gun belt before King delivered any baton strikes.
Following surgery for his broken leg, Carnegay was transported from the hospital to Fulton County Jail, where he was held for several days before being released. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office later dismissed the charges against him.
When King is released from prison, he will be under federal supervision for three years.
This case was investigated by the Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division.