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East St. Louis cop pleads guilty to punching handcuffed suspect

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

East St. Louis, Ill. – An East St. Louis police officer has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a handcuffed suspect he punched in the mouth more than four years ago.

Antonio McWherter of Belleville faces up to a year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced in May.

As part of a plea agreement, McWherter agreed to resign from the East St. Louis Police Department, and he may not seek jobs in law enforcement or the military.

Federal prosecutors say McWherter had no justification for punching the handcuffed suspect in 2006.

The assault happened in the booking area of the East St. Louis Police Department.