United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces that Matthew Blaine Till, 33, a former officer of the Selma Police Department, pled guilty before United States District Judge Jeffrey U. Beaverstock on September 25, 2020 to three felony counts of obstruction of justice by corrupt persuasion of a witness.
At his plea hearing, Till admitted the following facts:
On April 30, 2020, Till used force against a citizen while on duty as a Selma police officer. On multiple occasions thereafter, Till instructed a fellow law-enforcement officer not to say anything to anyone—including a federal agent—regarding a phone call Till had received from his wife shortly before the use-of-force incident. Till admitted that he gave those instructions with the intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a federal law-enforcement officer of information relating to the possible commission of a federal civil-rights violation. As part of his plea agreement, Till will no longer be able to work in local, municipal, state or federal law enforcement, nor as a corrections officer or private security guard. Judge Beaverstock has scheduled sentencing for December 28, 2020. Till faces up to twenty years in prison.
Till has pending state criminal charges in Dallas County, Alabama. On September 29, 2020, a state grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Till, charging him with second-degree assault, a felony, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor, and obstructing governmental operations, a misdemeanor. An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until and unless he or she is proven guilty at trial.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Alabama Attorney General investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Roller and Deborah Griffin prosecuted the federal case in coordination with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the state case.