NATIONAL NEWS

Justice Department ends probe into police beating of man during traffic stop in Florida

Nov 3, 2023, 6:50 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its review of the case of a drug suspect who was repeatedly punched, elbowed and kneed by police officers during a traffic stop in northeast Florida, officials said Friday.

James Felte Jr., Justice Department criminal section chief, wrote in a letter to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters that the arrest of Le’Keian Woods does not give rise to a prosecutable violation of federal civil rights laws.

Attorneys for Woods had asked for the federal investigation shortly after his Sept. 29 arrest.

“While it is unfortunate that the DOJ’s Special Litigation Section has chosen to close its review so quickly despite the clear evidence before them, it is not surprising,” attorney Harry Daniels said in a statement. “At the end of the day, that’s why we have the civil courts where a jury will ultimately decide justice.”

Woods suffered a ruptured kidney, vomiting and migraine headaches following the confrontation, his attorneys said. Mug shots taken after the arrest showed him with both eyes swollen shut and bruises and cuts on his face.

Waters has said his officers’ actions were justified because Woods appeared to resist arrest even after he was zapped with a stun gun and pinned to the ground. Officers knew Woods had once been accused of murder, was on probation for armed robbery and had been connected to firearms and drug trafficking when they gave chase after a traffic stop, Waters said.

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Justice Department ends probe into police beating of man during traffic stop in Florida