According to a recent press release, the United States Department of Justice has announced that a former Corrections Officer from White County Tennessee has been sentenced for civil rights violations.
Serving as a Corrections Officer for the White County Jail from November 2002 until September 2004, Stanley Hawkins allegedly violated the civil rights of an inmate while working there. Sentenced in Nashville, Tennessee today, he will now face a prison sentence for 12 months or 1 year as well as being federally supervised for one year after his release from his prison sentence.
So How did he violate the civil rights of the inmate? After a previous misconduct incident involving the inmate, Stanley Hawkins decided to give the inmate cruel and unusual punishment in May 2004. Hawkins threw a chemical grenade into the inmate’s cell as well as beat the inmate. Hawkins has already been convicted at trial of a felony for his role in this case.
“This defendant violated the public’s trust and broke faith in the proud history of integrity and professionalism in law enforcement,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. “This prosecution demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to aggressively pursuing law enforcement officials who willfully abuse those entrusted to their custody,” Kim added.
“When inmates are confined to correctional institutions, those charged with their security are expected to abide by the Constitution and the rule of law in carrying out their duties,” said Paul M. O’Brien, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. “When an officer violates those duties by illegally abusing a prisoner, it is our duty to prosecute that officer in order to punish that illegal conduct, to deter others from engaging in similar conduct, and to preserve the public trust that honest, law-abiding officers deserve. We take seriously our duty to preserve the civil rights of all people, and remain committed to our long history of vigorously prosecuting civil rights offenses,” said O’Brien.
Along with beating the inmate, Hawkins was also charged for holding the inmate in a small cell among human waste as well as forcing the inmate to stay in a jacket for three weeks straight without letting the inmate take it off, Hawkin’s also had a co-defendant, whom was also a former White County Jail Administrator. His name is Donald Wilson and he was sentenced on June 25, 2007. Amazingly, his sentencing was even worse. He received a jail term of 33-months, or roughly 3 years.
This is one of the many cases involving trusted individuals taking advantage of their roles.