A former police officer from Venice, Ill. appeared in court Monday to answer a federal civil rights charge accusing him of assaulting a handcuffed man.
Justin Gaither, 33, was indicted on September 27 on one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, namely the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force. The indictment accuses Gaither of assaulting someone on Nov. 20, 2022. The victim was handcuffed and was not posing a threat to anyone, the indictment says.
Gaither pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.
Charges outlined in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Krug is prosecuting the case.