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Erie County Sheriff Deputy Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation | News

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Erie County Sheriff Deputy Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

BUFFALO, N.Y. - An Erie County Sheriff Deputy pled guilty Thursday to violating the civil rights of an inmate.

The US Attorney office says Thomas Thompson, 40, of Grand Island, a sergeant with the Erie County Sheriff's Department, recruited other deputies to assist him in the search of a cell at the Erie County Holding Center on January 18, 2010. They say Thompson was following up on an anonymous report of illegal narcotics in a unit that housed the victim.

In a press release, officials say after arriving at the victim's cell, Thompson asked which inmate had the illegal narcotics. Thompson and other deputies were told by the victim that an inmate across the hall had the drugs, but a search of that inmate's cell did not turn up any drugs. 

Thompson and the other deputies then returned to the victim's cell and told the victim that because he had lied and did not assist with finding the illegal narcotics, the victim had to take a shot to the gut. Thompson then told the victim to pick a deputy to deliver the shot. The victim pointed to a deputy who then proceeded to punch the victim.

In March of 2010, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard fired a sargeant and two deputies, and suspended three others in connection to this case.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 27. Thompson could face a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.


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