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A West Virginia sheriff’s deputy was charged with a federal civil rights violation after he allegedly punched and pepper sprayed a suspect, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.
Monongalia County Deputy Lance Kuretza, who was arrested Thursday, also is accused of writing a false report on the January 2018 incident, the Justice Department said in a news release.
Kuretza, 38, subjected the suspect to excessive force by punching and elbowing him in the face. After the suspect was handcuffed, he was hit and pepper-sprayed, resulting in bodily injury, according to the indictment.
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On his report, Kuretza claimed he used pepper spray before the suspect was handcuffed. The deputy’s report also omitted documentation of force used after the suspect was handcuffed.
The civil rights violation carries a maximum punishment of 10 years upon conviction and the falsifying charge carries a 20-year punishment.
The court documents didn’t indicate whether Kuretza has an attorney who could comment on the charges.
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The indictment did not detail what led to the arrest. The FBI is investigating the case.
Kuretza has been placed on paid administrative leave, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.