Former HC Chief Deputy indicted

Published 4:40 pm Monday, December 17, 2012

WASHINGTON,D.C.– A former high ranking officer with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office stands accused of violating the civil rights of a prison inmate.

Timothy Lassiter, former Chief Deputy of the Hertford CountySheriff’s Office, was indicted Monday by a federal grand jury for violating an inmate’s civil rights while acting under color of law in June of this year. That information was sent in a press release from Thomas G. Walker,  United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

According to the indictment, on June 12 of this year Lassiter allegedly struck and assaulted a Hertford County Detention Center inmate who was a pretrial detainee. The assault resulted in bodily injury to the inmate and violated his due process rights.

If Lassiter is convicted of this charge, he will face a maximum punishment of 10 years of imprisonment.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Toby Lathan and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Betsy Biffl.

The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The allegations against Lassiter marks the second time in less than one month that a former Chief Deputy of a Roanoke-Chowan area Sheriff’s Office has been indicted on criminal changes.

On Nov. 27, a federal grand jury, according to court records, returned a true bill of indictment against William Otis “Bill” Wheeler for one count of possession of stolen firearms and two counts of sale of stolen firearms. Wheeler, the former Chief Deputy of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested Dec. 3 and made an appearance in U.S. Federal Court in Raleigh one day later. There, Wheeler was released on his own recognizance and his arraignment date has not been set yet, according to information provided by Don Connelly, Law Enforcement Coordinator/Public Information Officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to Northampton Sheriff Wardie Vincent, the weapons allegedly stolen by Wheeler were at one time being held in a locker inside the department’s evidence room in Jackson.