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Former trooper pleads guilty to using excessive force

  • Story Highlights
  • Ex-trooper John Sawyer pleads guilty to repeatedly kicking arrested man
  • Authorities say Sergio Caridi led troopers on lengthy chase in a dump truck
  • Caridi dragged out of cab and kicked; 2006 incident captured on videotape
  • Other excessive-force incidents in South Carolina led to formation of task force
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By Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer
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(CNN) -- A former South Carolina state trooper pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to using excessive force when he repeatedly kicked an arrested man in the head and neck following a high speed chase.

Ex-trooper John Sawyer pled guilty in Charleston, South Carolina, to civil rights violations for the May 2006 incident.

Sawyer was charged with causing bodily harm to Sergio Caridi.

Authorities said Caridi led troopers on a lengthy chase in a large dump truck, and the authorities had to shoot out the tires and truck engine to get him to stop.

He was dragged out of the cab and then kicked repeatedly by Sawyer, according to the guilty plea.

The videotaped incident received wide attention because it came in the wake of a second case in which a former South Carolina trooper was indicted on federal civil rights charges for an incident in which he allegedly tried to run down a black man with his cruiser.

In that case, which was also videotaped by the trooper dash camera, white ex-trooper Steve Garren was acquitted by a jury of allegations he intentionally struck the man.

The two cases were among 10 claims of excessive force by troopers that led the U.S. Attorney to form a South Carolina Task Force to review the allegations.

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