“VALDOSTA – A former Berrien County sheriff was sentenced Wednesday after pleaded guilty to federal charges in June.
Anthony Heath pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the civil rights of two non-resistant arrestees by using excessive force against them. Heath was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment, a $200 assessment fee and three years of supervised release, according to the United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia.
According to Heath’s guilty plea, on Jan. 12, 2012, Heath and deputies from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) were engaged in a foot chase of an individual identified only as M.V., who had been banned from traveling through the county. During the chase, Heath saw M.V. and called out to him, “You better not run or I will beat your a**,” or words to that effect. M.V. responded by running into a nearby wooded area.
Heath and multiple BCSO deputies followed M.V. into the woods, where a BCSO deputy eventually saw M.V. and arrested him without incident. When a deputy reported that M.V. was in custody, Heath ordered deputies to wait and hold M.V. in the woods. When Heath arrived, M.V. was lying face-down on the ground, with his hands handcuffed behind his back and was not resisting arrest. Heath kicked M.V. in the ribs, punched him in the head with a closed fist multiple times and forcefully kneed him in the ribs multiple times, causing M.V. to experience pain and have difficulty breathing.”