Former Piedmont police officer indicted on deprivation of rights, lying to FBI

scales of justice gavel (Source: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki)
scales of justice gavel (Source: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki)

(KBSI) – A former police officer from Piedmont was indicted and accused of violating the civil rights of two people and then lying to the FBI about it.

Woodrow Massa, 66, of Wayne County, was indicted by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau Tuesday on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of lying to the FBI.

The indictment says while Massa was a Piedmont police officer he participated in the arrest and detention of two people “despite the absence of an arrest warrant or probable cause.”

The arrest deprived the people of the Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure, according to the indictment.

The first arrest, of someone identified in court documents as “J.R.,” occurred on Aug. 12, 2020.  The second, of “E.W.,” occurred on Dec. 22, 2020.

Massa is accused of lying about the arrest of J.R. twice in FBI interviews: first on Oct. 5, 2020 in Wayne County and also on May 24, 2021 in Cape Girardeau County. Massa is accused of lying by saying he was not present in the booking room while J.R. was being processed, despite a video recording depicting his presence there, the indictment says.

Massa is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau October 13.

Each misdemeanor civil rights charge carries a potential penalty of up to a year in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both. The felony charge of making a false statement carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Krug is prosecuting the case.

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