WASHINGTON – Michael Gilpatrick, former Overton County Jail Administrator, was convicted today in federal court for violating the civil rights of an inmate detained in the Overton County Jail. Gilpatrick faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the two counts on which he was convicted, and was remanded for a psychiatric evaluation.
Two co-defendants, Overton County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Grigg and Lieutenant Johnny Gann, pleaded guilty to related charges last week, just prior to the commencement of the trial. A fourth defendant, Overton County Sheriff’s Lieutenant James Loftis, also pleaded guilty in June 2005 to a related civil rights charge. In total, four Overton County law enforcement officers have been convicted in the course of this prosecution.
The jury found Gilpatrick guilty of willfully violating the civil rights of an inmate in the Overton County Jail by arranging for two other jail inmates to assault the victim. The jury also convicted Gilpatrick of conspiring with Grigg and Loftis to violate the victim’s civil rights. Grigg and Loftis pleaded guilty to conspiring with Gilpatrick to have the victim assaulted. Gann further pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators during the investigation of this incident. The inmates who assaulted the victim have agreed to plead guilty to state assault charges later this year.
“Those who abuse their position of trust are an affront to the vast majority of law enforcement officers who perform honorably under dangerous and difficult circumstances,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the criminal civil rights laws.”
“I want to commend the FBI for its thorough investigation of this case,” said Craig S. Morford, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville. “I pledge my office’s support to investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations when they occur.”
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights prosecutions in the last six years. Since fiscal year 2001, the Division has convicted 50 percent more defendants in comparison to the previous six years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Cohen and Civil Rights Division attorneys Gerry Hogan and Jim Felte prosecuted this case for the government.