Incredulous as it may sound, Walmart shopper Tyrone Carnegay had his leg broken by an off-duty Atlanta cop working a security gig at Walmart. The officer, 49-year-old Trevor King, accused Carnegay of stealing a tomato. Carnegay denied the allegations and King proceeded to beat the man with his baton. King broke two bones in the Black man’s leg, accused him of assault and obstruction and had him handcuffed to a hospital bed. To add insult to injury, Carnegay had to spend three days in jail after being discharged from the hospital.
Justice has finally come for Carnegay with the conviction of King in the case Friday. The Department of Justice issued a release stating:
A federal jury has convicted former Atlanta Police Department Sergeant Trevor King, of Stockbridge, Georgia, of using unreasonable force when he arrested a Walmart shopper who the officer wrongfully suspected of shoplifting a tomato. King beat the victim with his police-issue baton, breaking two bones in the victim’s leg. The jury also convicted King of writing a false incident report in an attempt to cover up his wrongdoing.
“Law enforcement officers all over the country work tirelessly every day to protect the public from violence,” said Acting Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Department. “This defendant violated the law and his oath as a police officer when he unjustifiably beat a man with a baton, breaking the man’s leg, because he wrongly believed that the man had stolen a tomato. The Department of Justice will continue to protect all citizens from violations of their constitutional right to safety and security.”
Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta David J. LeValley said, “It is extremely disheartening when a law enforcement officer abuses his or her authority and the public’s trust. The actions of this officer are especially insulting to the vast majority of those in law enforcement who work so hard with integrity and commitment within the criminal justice system. The FBI will continue to dedicate significant resources to investigate allegations of public corruption involving police officers.”
In July, a mistrial was declared because of King’s testimony admitting to to telling different stories in two police reports, prosecutors said. That revelation led to a superseding indictment that brought everyone back to court again. An indictment that included a count describing intent to lie about the incident in a second police report King filled out to justify charges against Carnegay was added to the unreasonable force allegation. The indictment reads:
“Specifically, Defendant KING wrote an official offense report documenting an encounter with T.C. in which Defendant KING falsely wrote that: (1) he told T.C . to get on the ground using a loud verbal command but T.C. continued to push past Defendant KING and ignored his commands; and (2) T.C. reached for the left side of Defendant KING’s gun belt before Defendant KING struck T.C. on his right leg with a baton. In truth, however, as Defendant KING then well knew: (1) T.C. did not continue to push past Defendant KING and ignore Defendant KING’s verbal commands; and (2) T.C. did not reach for Defendant KING’s gun belt before Defendant KING delivered the first two baton strikes to T.C.’s leg.”
According to WSBTV, King has a history of lying in his incident reports. In 2012 King claimed someone forged his signature on a pre-signed voucher for a drug-case witness. In 2001, King manufactured a hit-and-run at Atlanta’s airport to cover up the damage done to his patrol vehicle. Airport employees who witnessed the accident were the key to proving the story false. The Office of Professional Standards conducted an investigation into King’s claims and found that he lied. The officers involved in the investigation were called to the stand to testify to King’s pattern of lies.
Although he was found to be untruthful in those instances then-Police Chief George Turner downgraded the charges and disciplinary action against King.
King’s attorney defended his client saying that those events were not relevant to the Walmart case. But in fact they show a pattern of behavior where the officer lies to cover up his own wrongdoing while enforcing the law. The pattern of lies and cover-ups alone spoke to King’s second count of the indictment.
There are only two things a police officer has to do…tell the truth and respect the Constitution and King proved he was unfit to do either.
All charges against Carnegay were dropped and he has since filed a lawsuit.