Former southeast Mo. police officer accused of violating 2 peoples’ civil rights, lying to FBI

66-year-old Woodrow Massa's accused of violating the civil rights of two people, then lying to the F-B-I about it.
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 1:51 PM CDT
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SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - A former police officer is accused of violating the civil rights of two people and then lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations about it.

According to a release from the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Woodrow Massa, 66, of Wayne County, was indicted by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of lying to the FBI.

According to the indictment, while a Piedmont police officer, Massa participated in the arrest and detention of two people “despite the absence of an arrest warrant or probable cause.”

The indictment states the arrest “deprived those people of the Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure.”

The first arrest, of someone identified in court documents as “J.R.,” happened on August 12, 2020, according to the indictment. The second, of “E.W.,” occurred on December 22, 2020.

According to the indictment, Massa lied about the arrest of J.R. twice in FBI interviews: the first time on Oct. 5, 2020 in Wayne County and the again on May 24, 2021 in Cape Girardeau County.

It stated Massa lied by saying he was not present in the booking room while J.R. was being processed, despite a video recording showing him there.

Massa is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau on Oct. 13.

Each misdemeanor civil rights charge carries a potential penalty of up to a year in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both. The felony charge of making a false statement carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Krug is prosecuting the case.