Christopher E. Hunt, a former sheriff's deputy for St. Charles County, Mo., was sentenced to a total of 5 years and 9 months in prison Friday on felony burglary, misdemeanor assault and property damage charges stemming from a 2009 incident during the arrest of a wanted methamphetamine cook.
In February 2009, Hunt and other officers assigned to the county's drug task force assisted in the arrest of Phillip Alberternst, who was wanted on felonies related to meth production, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch The officers had no search warrant for the home, and agreed to try a consensual search, prosecutors argued in court.
However, when Hunt arrived, he kicked in a porch door and beat "a helpless, naked man" who was not resisting. Prosecutors charged that Hunt responded to the meth raid because he bore an unspecified personal grudge against Alberternst, ABC St. Louis reported.
Hunt plans to appeal the decision, and maintained in a statement read in court that he acted out of concern for his fellow officers.
"I had to decide in a matter of seconds what it took jurors five hours to weigh," Hunt said. "My intention that night was not assault, it was safety."
But Circuit Court Judge Keith Sutherland disagreed, saying that Hunt was "intoxicated with the power of the badge."
In August, KRTS reported that Hunt's conviction might "be the start of bad blood" between the St. Charles Sheriff Department and neighboring law enforcement agencies.
Alberternst was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but is out on parole. In February 2012, The Post-Dispatch reported that Alberternst settled out of court in a civil suit against three other officers involved in the incident, receiving a total of $70,000 in settlement.
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