ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A former Northwoods police officer was fined $10,000 after he admitted to punching a woman multiple times after trying to break up a fight at the DMV.
Michael Bennett pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of deprivation of rights under color of law in May. On Wednesday, he was fined and given one year of supervised release.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Sayler Flemming's office, Bennett was in plain clothes at the DMV on April 15, 2021, when the woman got into an argument with a DMV employee. Bennett identified himself as a police officer and started giving commands to the woman.
When the woman started yelling back at Bennett, he grabbed her by the throat and then punched her in the face. The woman staggered backward, and he struck her again multiple times.
The press release said Bennett told the woman to leave, and when she turned around to walk toward the door, he punched her in the back of the head. He struck her a few more times before the incident ended.
The incident was investigated by the FBI.
Resources for crime victims:
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Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to "stabilize inner-city neighborhoods." One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.
Life Outside of Violence "helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence."
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership with St. Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.
Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities.