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8/19/2014Appeals Court Orders More Prison Time For Cop Who Beat Motorist
Iowa police officer who savagely beat a motorist will return to federal prison to serve more time.
Twenty months in jail is nowhere near sufficient punishment for an Iowa cop who brutally beat a motorist, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled on Thursday. Des Moines Police Officer Mersed Dautovic had been convicted assaulting Octavius Bonds with a baton during a September 12, 2008 traffic stop.
Around midnight, Bonds left a movie theater with his girlfriend, Erin Evans, who was behind the wheel when Officer Dautovic approached from behind with emergency lights flashing, en route to a call. According to Officer John Mailander, Dautovic's partner, Evans took five seconds to move over into the right lane because other traffic was in the way. The emergency call was canceled and Dautovic decided to stop Evans for failing to yield.
"Are you from America?" Officer Dautovic yelled as Evans rolled down the window. "Are you stupid? Didn't you know you are supposed to yield to the right when you see an emergency vehicle approaching?"
Evans took too long producing her license and registration, so Officer Mainlander pulled her out of the car, dragging her along the ground to be handcuffed. Bonds got out of the car, so Officer Dautovic sprayed him with mace. Bonds put his hands on top of the car, faced away from Officer Dautovic and begged him to stop spraying.
Instead, Officer Dautovic reached under Bonds' arm to spray him directly in the face. Bonds pulled Dautovic's arm away. Officer Dautovic responded by slamming his baton onto Bonds' skull. Bonds resumed consciousness only to see both Dautovic and Mainlander hitting him with their batons as he was on the ground in a fetal position. A hospital treated Bonds for severe head injury, a broken right forearm and a broken left hand that required surgery.
Bonds was charged with assaulting a police officer and Evans with interfering with a police officer. Three witnesses at trial confirmed that Bonds was not resisting, and a jury acquitted them despite the perjured testimony and falsified police reports of Officers Dautovic and Mainlander.
Another jury found Dautovic guilty of using excessive force and obstructing justice. He faced a twenty year maximum sentence for his crime. Dautovic was without remorse throughout his trial, insisting he did the right thing. US District Court Judge John A. Jarvey determined that the federal sentencing guidelines recommendation of eleven to fourteen years in prison was "unreasonable" and that twenty months was sufficient. The Eighth Circuit disagreed.
"The district court acted within its discretion when it decided to vary downward based on Dautovic's history and characteristics and on its policy disagreement with the guidelines, but these considerations do not justify the imposition of a twenty-month sentence in this case," Judge Roger Leland Wollman wrote for the three-judge appellate panel. "Dautovic's offense conduct involved aggravating circumstances, including the use of a dangerous weapon, the physical restraint of Bonds during the course of the beating, and the infliction of serious injury. Moreover, acting under the color of law, Dautovic tried to conceal his wrongdoing by falsifying a police report and lying under oath. When the totality of the circumstances is considered, a variance from the guidelines range of 135 to 168 months' imprisonment to a twenty-month sentence is unreasonably lenient"
The court vacated Dautovic's sentence and ordered A copy of the decision is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: US v. Dautovic (US Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 8/14/2014)
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