Let’s go ahead and live the fantasy. Imagine a county sheriff holding a press conference and swearing out a complaint. Imagine him waving it in front of the cameras. Imagine him saying that the next stop was the governor’s mansion to put handcuffs on the big cheese himself. He would never get past the governor’s state police security detail, but it would definitely make the news. Here is the summary and wording of the relevant statute taken from DOJ’s own website:
DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW
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Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim. The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any. The Tyranny of Good In... Best Price: $6.96 Buy New $8.95 (as of 07:10 EST - Details)
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
End quote. The bold emphasis on the heading and on the lower section and the italics were not added by me for enhanced effect. It is a direct block-and-paste from the DOJ website. Wow, it seems like DOJ really means business about this freedom thing. Somebody should dust this one off and test it out.