Ex-Warren Cop Pleads Guilty to Using Excessive Force While Booking A Man

April 08, 2024, 6:09 PM by  Allan Lengel

Officer Matthew Rodriguez punches man.

A former Warren Police officer pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Detroit of using excessive force and violently assaulting a man while booking him in June 2023 at the department jail.

The assault was captured on video at the department and later made public.

Matthew Rodriguez, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of the law after abusing a suspect while fingerprinting and photographing him at a local detention facility.

“This police officer carried out a violent assault on a man who was doing nothing to harm or endanger him and then tried to cover up his crime,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

“Police officers are not above the law in our country and will be held accountable when they violate people’s civil and constitutional rights. When law enforcement abuses their authority, it erodes trust between the police and the community they are sworn to protect and serve."  

Authorities alleged that on June 13, 2023, then-officer Rodriguez was fingerprinting and photographing a man who had been brought to the Warren Police Department’s jail for processing.

After taking the man's fingerprints, Rodriguez struck him multiple times and slammed his head against the floor. The man, authorities noted,was not physically resisting Rodriguez and posed no immediate threat to anyone.

During the plea hearing, authorities said Rodriguez admitted that he knew that his use of force against the man was unreasonable and contrary to department policy. He also admitted writing a false report about the incident and omitted material information. The man was suffered injuries from the assault. 

The defendant’s actions in this case were shocking and flagrantly violate the standards of conduct we expect of all sworn law enforcement officers,” Detroit U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison said in a statement.

Rodriguez is set to be sentenced on Aug. 20. He faces up to 10 years in prison, but is likely to get less under the federal sentencing guidelines. 

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