A federal court unsealed a two-count indictment today against Monongalia County, West Virginia, Deputy Sheriff Lance Kuretza, 38, for depriving an individual of his civil rights by using excessive force and for writing a false report to cover it up.

According to the indictment, on Jan. 20, 2018, while on duty, Deputy Kuretza subjected the victim to excessive force by punching and elbowing him in the face and, after the victim was handcuffed, spraying him with pepper spray and striking him.

The offense resulted in bodily injury and included the use of a dangerous weapon.

The indictment further alleges that Deputy Kuretza falsified his use of force report by claiming he used pepper spray before the victim was handcuffed, and by omitting any documentation of post-handcuffing force.

Kuretza was arrested in the morning and is scheduled to make his initial court appearance later this morning.

If convicted, Kuretza faces up to 10 years in prison for the civil rights violation and up to 20 years in prison for falsifying the report.

The FBI is investigating the case, with the support of the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S.
Attorney William Ihlenfeld for the Northern District of West Virginia and Special Agent in Charge
Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office announced the indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Wagner for the Northern District of West Virginia and Trial
Attorney Kyle Boynton of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.