Missouri Police Officer Gets 4 Years

ST. LOUIS (CN) — A Former Pine Lawn Police Lieutenant was sentenced Thursday to 51 months in federal prison, ending a chapter of political corruption in the St. Louis suburb.
     Steven Blakeney was sentenced on criminal civil rights charges stemming from his arrest of a mayoral candidate in 2013.
     He is the second Pine Lawn official to be sentenced to federal prison in the past 15 months. The town’s former mayor, Sylvester Caldwell, was sentenced to 33 months in prison in July 2015 for extortion.
     Pine Lawn is 7 miles northwest of St. Louis and 5 miles south of Ferguson. Its population of 3,261 is 95.8 percent black and its median household income of $26,477 in 2012 was 58 percent of the statewide median of $45,321, according to city-data.com.
     According to testimony, on March 31, 2013, Blakeney ordered another person to falsely report that the mayoral candidate had stolen a campaign poster from a business and then arranged for the candidate to be arrested.
     Blakeney, 36, was convicted in January of one felony count of conspiracy against rights, one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of falsification of records. U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. had Blakeney remanded into the custody of U.S. Marshals after his sentencing.
     Blakeney sued Pine Lawn in January 2015, claiming he was fired for being a whistle-blower in an FBI investigation of Caldwell. In May 2015, he also sued KTVI-TV and reporter Chris Hayes, claiming they defamed him in a series of reports on his actions as a Pine Lawn police officer.

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