Former Metro East cop, already facing local charges, federally indicted on civil rights charge

Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 3:29 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A former Venice, Illinois, police officer was federally indicted in September on a charge accusing him of assaulting a man in handcuffs. The officer was previously charged in St. Clair County with aggravated battery and official misconduct stemming from an incident when he worked for the Washington Park Police Department.

Justin Gaither, 33, pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court to one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law. An indictment alleges he assaulted someone in November who was handcuffed and not posing a threat.

First Alert 4 reported in April that St. Clair County prosecutors charged Gaither with punching a teen with autism in the face and tasing him multiple times after responding to a dispute at a residence. The Washington Park Police Department requested an excessive use of force investigation on the day the incident happened in March. Gaither was charged in April.