A federal cop for Homeland Security was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for making illegal traffic stops and illegally detaining people in Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta announced.
Stephen G. House, 53, of Silver Creek, Ga., a law enforcement and security officer for the Federal Protective Service of the Department of Homeland Security, was accused of using his patrol car, which he was allowed to take home, and making traffic stops on public roads where he had no authority to do so.
During trial witnesses said they were stopped while driving on public roads, not federal property, and accused of violating traffic laws, something they denied. He then tried to contact local law enforcement to respond and write the motorists a ticket or arrest them, authorities said.
On two occasions, House made false statements to local law enforcement officers, saying they were driving aggressively, authorities said. As a result of his false statements, the drivers were arrested and their cars were impounded, authorities said.
On four other occasions, he detained the motorists for varying lengths of time, then let them go with a warning.
“This defendant abused his authority as a federal law enforcement officer by repeatedly using his official position to make illegal traffic stops and illegally detain motorists,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “He also submitted false reports about these stops to cover up his illegal acts. By doing so, he intentionally violated the Constitutional rights of these Georgia citizens.