STEVENSON, Ala. (WIAT) — A federal judge in Birmingham today sentenced former Stevenson, Ala. police chief Daniel Winters, 56, to over two years in prison for beating an arrestee and standing by while his friend also beat the arrestee, according to a release from the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
District Court Judge Madeline Haikala sentenced Winters to 27 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution of $12,970 on two counts of violating an individual’s civil rights, according to the release. Winters was convicted of the charges on July 2016, and must report to prison on March 7, according to the release.
The release states that evidence presented at Winters’ trial showed that Winters and a civilian friend went to a residence to investigate suspicions that property had been stolen from the friend’s business and was located at the residence. When they arrived, Winters and his friend entered the residence without a warrant, encountering the victim, at which point they begin to beat them.
The beating at that point moved outside where Winters and his friend beat the victim for about five minutes, when a passing motorist then called 911 to report the beating. The victim left the altercation with wounds to his face, chest, and back, and was taken to jail at the Stevenson Police Department.
The victim began to spit up blood while in jail, and was denied medical treatment by Winters when a jailor requested to call an ambulance. Eventually, the jailor received permission to call an ambulance from another supervisor, and the victim was transported to a hospital where he received medical attention.
“Police department leadership must set the example and uphold the integrity of their departments and meet the rightful expectation of every citizen that law enforcement officers will act in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold,” Vance said in the release. “In this case, a police chief criminally abused his badge in order to benefit a friend and inflict violence on an individual in violation of the Constitution. Our society cannot allow that kind of abuse of power and authority to go unpunished.”