Ex-Nebraska state trooper charged in excessive force incident

After a video of the trooper hitting a drunk driver with his rifle came forward in 2016, he has been federally charged and could face 10 years in prison.

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) – A former Nebraska state trooper who was shown on video hitting a drunken driver from Colorado with his service rifle has been charged with a federal crime.

According to officials, Lindsey Bixby, of Ellsworth, was charged Friday with deprivation of rights, U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly said in a news release.

The federal charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release, upon conviction.

Gov. Pete Ricketts cited the patrol’s handling of the Bixby allegations as one reason he fired Col. Brad Rice as patrol superintendent in October 2017.

 A video taken on March 4, 2016, showed Bixby hitting a Colorado man in the head with his rifle after the man refused to to get on the ground at the end of a police pursuit in Sioux County.

The man was later sentenced to two years’ probation for misdemeanors related to the pursuit.

Sioux County prosecutors did not charge Bixby, who then resigned from the patrol. The incident did not become public for more than a year after it occurred.

Rice was fired after an investigation found patrol leaders tried to influence the outcome of at least four internal reviews — including the Bixby case. Investigators said the patrol also didn’t disclose a dozen alleged cases of trooper misconduct and didn’t properly investigate sexual harassment accusations.

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