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Show Us the Tape:

Radley Balko is outraged by the death of Jesse Lee Williams, Jr. while in the custody of the Harrison County, Mississippi, sherriff's department. Williams was arrested on misdemeanor charges. After his arrest, witnesses claim he was savagely beaten to death of department personnel. The account is quite sickening.

Apparently everything that happened to Williams was caught on video, as there are several cameras where Williams was beaten, but Balko reports tapes have not been released to the media or Williams family. There is no excuse for this. If the police did nothing wrong, they should release the tapes. Their refusal to do so after several months suggests that the tapes show police conduct the county would rather not reveal — or rectify, for that matter. According to Balko, no charges have been filed (though one deputy is no longer employed by the department).

Balko concludes: "If prosecutors held civilians to the same standards they hold police officers, my guess is that there would be a lot fewer people in prison." Sad to say, but if prosecutors held police to the same standards they hold civilians, there also might be more cops behind bars — and crooked, sadistic cops like those who allegedly killed Williams would no longer give honest, hard-working police officers a bad name.

UPDATE: It seems the feds are on the case. As noted in one of the comments below, the Sun-Herald is reporting:

A former Harrison County jailer's guilty plea today for her involvement in the beating of Jessie Lee Williams Jr. includes admission that a pattern of abuse existed at the jail and corrections officers have covered up other acts of unnecessary force.

Regina Lynn Rhodes, 29, pleaded guilty to depriving Williams of his civil rights under cover of law and concealing information about the Feb. 4 beating, which led to Williams' death. Rhodes, in a written statement of facts, also admitted she struck Williams on his neck, bag and legs while he was restrained in blows that caused bodily injuries.

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Jesse Lee Williams Case Update:

The Sun-Herald reports more details on the plea agreement Regina Rhodes made with federal prosecutors concerning her role in the beating death of Jesse Lee Williams, Jr. while he was in the custody of the Harrison County, Mississippi sherriff's department.

Regina Lynn Rhodes, 29, faces up to 13 years in a federal prison and a $500,000 fine for violating the civil rights of Jessie Lee Williams Jr. under color of law and withholding information. She will be sentenced Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. by U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr.

Rhodes pleaded guilty Monday, admitting she injured Williams on Feb. 4 with repeated blows to his neck, back and legs while he was restrained in the jail booking room.

Her admission of guilt came through a plea agreement, read in court, which also states she failed to mention the use of unnecessary force in a report the next day and then lied to state and federal investigators during interviews on Feb. 8 and June 19. Rhodes was fired, her resignation effective April 11.

The plea agreement, dated July 26, documents Rhodes' claim that an unnamed deputy in a supervisory position and other corrections officers "regularly encouraged other corrections officers" to assault inmates "in circumstances that did not justify use of force." The agreement also claims the jailers "submitted false, incomplete and misleading jail reports" to cover up the incidents and that while Rhodes was aware of their actions, she failed to report them.

A copy of the plea agreement is available here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Interesting Developments in Williams Case:
  2. Jesse Lee Williams Case Update:
  3. Show Us the Tape:
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Interesting Developments in Williams Case:

From today's Sun-Herald:

Attorneys for the estate of Jessie Lee Williams Jr. have filed a motion asking a federal judge to determine if the Harrison County jail has presented false reports to the U.S. Justice Department and, if so, that the federal government temporarily take over the jail.

The motion, filed early Thursday evening, alleges the jail has filed false reports to the Justice Department regarding the fatal beating of Williams. The jail has been under a federal consent judgment since 1995 and must submit quarterly reports to the Justice Department to show how the jail is run and what happens in the jail.

The motion claims the quarterly report for January through March contains "intentionally misleading and possibly fraudulent reports" involving Williams' beating in the jail booking room Feb. 4.

The motion also claims Monday's guilty plea of ex-jailer Regina Rhodes to criminal acts stemming from the beating is "further evidence... as active efforts to cover up blatant abuses and illegal activities" and that the report "failed to identify all of the individuals known to it at the time the report was filed."

The full story is here. The Sun-Herald has also posted the text of the motion and accompanying press release.

UPDATE: More here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Interesting Developments in Williams Case:
  2. Jesse Lee Williams Case Update:
  3. Show Us the Tape:
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