Anchorage police officer charged with violating man’s civil rights

Anchorage Police Officer Cornelius Pettus contacts Samuel Allen on Sept. 30, 2019. (Screen grab from Northern Corruption Monitor 907 YouTube)

An Anchorage police officer has been indicted on a federal charge of violating civil rights when he allegedly assaulted a man to whom he was serving a bicycle citation.

Cornelius Pettus, 33, was already facing misdemeanor assault charges and felony charges of records tampering in state court.

Related: Two Anchorage police officers indicted, suspended in alleged assault of man who frequently recorded police

The new charges stem from a September 2019 incident that started when Pettus contacted a man riding a bicycle at night without reflectors and, a while later, tried to serve him with a citation.

The camera on Pettus’s patrol car recorded him punching the man in the jaw and kicking him in the groin, according to the state charges. Pettus pepper-sprayed the man, and handcuffed and arrested him, the charges say.

The charges say the Anchorage Police Department’s “use-of-force” investigation showed the man had not been threatening Pettus with physical harm when Pettus punched him.

Pettus and a fellow officer involved in the incident have both pleaded not guilty to the state charges.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at

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