CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – A federal grand jury indicted a former Piedmont, Missouri police officer Tuesday for alleged civil rights violations.
The indictment says Woodrow Massa, 66, participated in the arrest and detention of two people “despite the absence of an arrest warrant or probable cause,” denying the individuals their Constitutional right from unreasonable seizure.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said the first arrest occurred on Aug. 12, 2020, and the second took place on Dec. 22, 2020. Massa later lied about his involvement in the first arrest during two interviews with the FBI. In one instance, Massa claimed he was not present in the booking room while the detainee was being processed. However, a video recording clearly shows Massa is in the room.
Massa was charged with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of lying to the FBI.
Massa is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau on Oct. 13.
If convicted, each civil rights charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Each false statement charge carries a sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine.