Sentences handed down in Bikefest beating convictions

Sentences handed down in Bikefest beating convictions

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A federal jury issued guilty verdicts for three deputies and one not guilty verdict for another in a trial of excessive force at the 2012 Bikefest in Bainbridge.

Decatur County Deputies Chris Kines and Wade Umbach were found guilty of tampering with a witness, but were found not guilty of making false entries.

Deputy Elizabeth Croley was found guilty of violating the constitutional rights of Aaron Parrish, lying in a statement, and withholding evidence.

Croley was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and two years on probation.

Kines and Umbach were sentenced to 15 months in prison, and two years on probation

Former Grady County deputy Wiley Griffin IV, the son of the Decatur County Sheriff, was found not guilty of violating the rights of Parrish.

Sheriff Griffin and Aaron Parrish were present in the courtroom when the sentences were announced. All three deputies will surrender when the Bureau of Prisons tells them to report.

The original incident happened during the Bainbridge BikeFest in September 2012. Parrish said he was beaten by deputies at the festival.

He sued Decatur County for the deputies actions. They had been charged with writing false reports and making misleading statements to cover up the case.

"When law enforcement officers break the laws they swear to uphold and harm the people they promise to protect, it undermines public trust in our government," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "If officers try to lie or withhold evidence, we will vigorously protect the integrity of our justice system by holding them accountable for their actions and safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans."

"The public rightfully depends on law enforcement officers to uphold the law faithfully," said Acting U.S. Attorney G.F. "Pete" Peterman of the Middle District of Georgia. "When these defendants withheld important facts and provided false information in this investigation, they subverted the entire process and damaged the public's faith in the integrity of their former fellow officers. They fully deserve the sentences meted out to them today."

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