AP NEWS

Ex-officer accused of shoving prisoner faces federal charge

January 3, 2020 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A fired suburban St. Louis police officer who is accused of shoving and choking a prisoner inside a booking area while a surveillance camera was rolling has been charged with a federal civil rights offense.

Robert Ryan Watson, who was a Pevely police corporal, already was facing a fourth-degree assault charge in Jefferson County Circuit Court when the misdemeanor federal charge was added this week. Documents filed in the new case say only that he deprived someone identified as “R.B.” of his right to be free from unreasonable force, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Officials have said the 40-year-old prisoner was being booked April 23 for violating a court order and had been insulting officers before the alleged assault. Prosecutors have said the prisoner did not seek medical attention. Watson was later fired, along with another officer seen on video sitting at a desk in the booking area.

“He regrets losing his temper and is no longer in law enforcement,“Watson’s lawyer, Travis Noble, said, adding that his client is surrendering his law enforcement license. “He hopes to put this behind him and focus on a new career and his family.”