Former Maryland K-9 police officer Stephanie C. Mohr was among the 29 people to whom President Donald Trump issued pardons or commutations on Wednesday.
Mohr served ten years in prison after being convicted of a federal civil rights violation for setting her police dog on an unarmed homeless man in 1995.
The man, Ricardo G. Mendez, had been sleeping on the roof of a business that officers were staking out as part of a burglary investigation. The attack on him resulted in a bite wound that required ten stitches.
Earlier this month Mohr had appeared on Newsmax, a pro-Trump conservative outlet, to plead her case for a pardon.
She claims she was made a scapegoat when an FBI investigation into brutality at her police department failed to result in other convictions.
A former Maryland K-9 police officer who served ten years in prison for setting her police dog on an unarmed homeless man was among the 29 people who were given pardons or commutations by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Stephanie C. Mohr was 30 years old in 2001 when she was convicted of a felony civil rights violation for a September 21, 1995 incident involving an unarmed homeless man.
Mohr set her police dog on Ricardo G. Mendez, a Mexican national, after he had surrendered to police, who were investigating a burglary – and the dog took out a chunk of his leg, The Washington Post reported at the time of her conviction.
It later turned out that Mendez was not a burglar and had simply been sleeping on the roof of the business that officers were staking out that night.
“She served 10 years in prison for releasing her K-9 partner on a burglary suspect in 1995, resulting in a bite wound requiring ten stitches,” the White House said in a statement about Mohr’s pardon on Wednesday. “Officer Mohr was a highly commended member of the police force prior to her prosecution.”
“Today’s action recognizes that service and the lengthy term that Ms. Mohr served in prison.”
Earlier this month, Mohr had appeared on Newsmax, a pro-Trump conservative news outlet, to plead her case for a presidential pardon, saying she had been scapegoated.
Mohr said that charges were pressed one day before they were set to expire under the statute of limitations, and that she was targeted because a federal investigation into brutality in the Prince George’s County Police Department failed to result in any other convictions.
She called her ten-year sentence “harsh,” saying that the average sentence for the same charge is 33 months. She also had a two-year-old son at the time of her sentencing, and therefore was separated from him for most of his childhood.
“I got ten years, basically one year for every stitch that the suspect received on his calf,” she said.
Mohr was traveling with her parents and partner on Wednesday when she heard she had gotten a pardon, according to USA Today.
“So many emotions flooding through me. It’s been a long, long, long battle for this. I’m just so grateful,” she told the outlet.
The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and the National Fraternal Order of Police, the biggest police union in the US, helped push for Mohr’s pardon. The National Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections.
Among the 28 other people to whom Trump issued pardons and commutations on Wednesday were the longtime Republican strategist Roger Stone, who was convicted of seven felonies last year; his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was sentenced last year to seven-and-a-half years in prison for multiple crimes; and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was convicted of tax crimes, witness tampering, and illegal campaign contributions.
Trump also pardoned or commuted the sentence of 20 other people on Tuesday. They include two Trump campaign associates who were ensnared in the FBI’s Russia investigation, four Blackwater guards who were convicted of killing Iraqi civilians including two children, and two Border Patrol agents who were accused of shooting an unarmed immigrant and covering it up.
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