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Former Alabama assistant police chief gets 41 months for beating suspect, selling confiscated marijuana

Alabama Media Group, al.com
BYLINE: Jonathan Grass |

Tallassee, AL

A federal court has sentenced former Tallassee Assistant Police Chief Chris Miles to 41 months in prison.

Miles, 41, pleaded guilty on Nov. 17, 2015 to one count of deprivation of civil rights, two counts of false statements and one count of possession with intent to distribute. The charges stem from Miles' beating false confessions from a child sex abuse suspect and marijuana that he stole from the police evidence room.

The sentence was issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama.

During his plea hearing, Miles admitted to beating suspect Stephen Conrad in the face and head with a phone book-sized stack of paper. He also admitted slapping him with his hand. Conrad was in the Tallassee Jail on several child sex abuse charges at the time, but Miles admitted he suspected Conrad was connected to more he wasn't charged with.

Prosecutors say the beating coerced Conrad into confessing to multiple cases he wasn't guilty of. Those confessions led to more than 100 counts of sex crime charges in May 2013. Those extra charges were later dropped after it was learned the confessions were false.

Miles also admitted that earlier in 2013 he stole approximately 16 pounds of marijuana from the police evidence room and later sold it to a known drug dealer.

"Law enforcement leaders serve as role models for their fellow officers, and at all times they must act with integrity, fairness and professionalism," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "Justice requires even-handed treatment for all, and without exception, we will aggressively prosecute any officer who beats an inmate, breaks the law and lies to federal investigators."

"Miles was a maverick, working outside the law," said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama. "While we expect interrogations to be thorough, an officer cannot turn an investigation into a punishment. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officials act reasonably and within the bounds of the Constitution."

Miles' case was investigated by the Auburn resident agency of the FBI's Mobile Field Office with assistance by Alabama's State Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerusha T. Adams for the Middle District of Alabama and trial attorney Gabriel Davis of the Civil Rights Division.

Conrad was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the sex crimes in Oct. 2015.

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