Former Marion officers sentenced to jail for using excessive for - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Former Marion officers sentenced to jail for using excessive force

Left: Franklin Brown, Right: Eric Walters. Source: Marion County Detention Center. Left: Franklin Brown, Right: Eric Walters. Source: Marion County Detention Center.
MARION, SC (WMBF) – Two former police officers were sentenced in Florence Monday, after they allegedly used their tasers on a female victim multiple times in 2013.

Erik Walters was issued a sentence of 12 months incarceration to be followed with a three-year probation. Franklin Brown was sentenced to 18 months incarceration with three years probation, according to a judge in Florence County. Walters and Brown were sentenced for using unreasonable force. 

At this point, the judge is suggesting the two men serve prison time at Bunter Prison in North Carolina.

The hearing was held in the McMillan Federal Building located on 401 West Evans Street in courtroom one.

A woman filed a lawsuit against the City of Marion and the two former Marion police officers who pleaded guilty to using excessive force. 

Walters and Brown, both formally police officers with the City of Marion Police Department, are named as defendants in a lawsuit filed last month, claiming violation of the victim's civil rights, as well as battery, and negligent hiring by the city. The lawsuit is seeking at least $1.9 million in damages.

Walters and Brown pleaded guilty in federal court in October 2014 to using excessive force against a woman with mental disabilities, according to a news release from the Justice Department.

The release states that in the course of detaining the victim on April 2, 2013, Walters used the taser on her, causing her to fall to the ground and injure her head. Walters continued to "tase" her multiple times. When Brown arrived, he also tased her while she was seated on the curb, restrained in handcuffs, and surrounded by law enforcement, the release states.

The lawsuit, filed by Conservator Loretta Baldwin on behalf of the victim, accuses Walters and Brown, and the City of Marion, of violating the victim's civil rights. It claims “outrage” by Walters and Brown, meaning their conduct “was so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all bound of decency and should be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society.”

The lawsuit seeks damages for common law battery, the intentional harming or offensive contact with the victim.

The filing also accuses the City of Marion of negligent hiring and/or supervision, claiming that Walters and Brown were not properly trained on use of the Taser.

In response to the lawsuit, Robert King, the attorney for the City of Marion, requested a jury trial.

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