Jessie Alan Fuller, 25, of Pensacola, Fla., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins to 37 months in prison and two years supervised release, the Justice Department announced. Fuller pleaded guilty on April 26, 2012, to one count of conspiracy against rights, a felony, and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, a misdemeanor. These charges stemmed from Fuller’s stealing money and property from motorists on Interstate 65 in central Alabama while he was a police officer with the Fort Deposit Police Department.
During his plea, Fuller admitted that he and another former Fort Deposit police officer agreed to pull over vehicles under the guise of legitimate law enforcement activity and to steal cash from drivers and passengers. Fuller further admitted that between May and June 2009, he and the other officer committed numerous thefts together, including thefts of $200 each from two separate victims and $120 from a third victim. In each of these incidents, Fuller and the other officer worked together, acting with each other’s knowledge and cooperation, and shared the stolen money. In each incident, the two officers used a marked patrol car, wore police clothing and carried a firearm. Fuller also admitted to stealing a GPS device from a driver whom he pulled over and arrested on March 14, 2009.
“This defendant abused his power as a law enforcement officer for his own financial gain. He violated not only the law, but also the public trust,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to holding those who abuse their authority and prey on members of the community accountable for their illegal actions.”
“It is terrible to see those sworn to uphold the law, break the law and prey on the public,” stated George L. Beck, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. “While it is always difficult to prosecute a member of our law enforcement community, my office is dedicated to protecting the community and seeking justice for all.”
On June 12, 2012, an eight-count indictment was unsealed charging Carlos Tyson Bennett, of Greenville, Ala., as the other officer. Bennett was charged with one count of conspiracy against rights, four counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, and three counts of obstruction of justice. An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. Trial is scheduled to begin in Bennett’s case on Sept. 10, 2012.
This case is being investigated by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation; the Butler County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office; and the Lowndes County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gray Borden for the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Chiraag Bains from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.