Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Federal Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

WASHINGTON—Former Bureau of Prisons Officer Christopher Conner pleaded guilty today to a one-count felony information charging him with depriving an inmate of his constitutional rights, the Justice Department announced.

Conner admitted that on March 26, 2006, he and two other correctional officers repeatedly punched inmate Demarrieo Davis in the head and body after he took a second tray of food from the prison at the Rivers Correctional Facility in Winton, N.C. Conner faces up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

In a related case, on June 11, 2007, Travis Ruffin pleaded guilty to making a false statement in an official document for writing a false Use of Force Memorandum in an attempt to cover up the beating. Ruffin faces up to one year imprisonment.

“The overwhelming majority of correctional officers dispatch their difficult duties with honor and professionalism,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal misconduct.”

George E. B. Holding, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, added, “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the civil rights of all persons.”

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In fiscal year 2006, nearly 50 percent of the cases brought by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division involved such prosecutions. Since fiscal year 2001, the Division has convicted 50 percent more defendants for excessive force and official misconduct than in the preceding six years.

Civil Rights Division attorneys Jared Fishman and Michael Barr and OIG Special Agents Lonnie Davis and Susan Howell handled this matter for the Justice Department.