WASHINGTON – The former Sheriff’s Jail Administrator in Overton County, Tenn., Michael Gilpatrick, and former Lieutenant James Loftis were sentenced today for their roles in violating the civil rights of an inmate detained in the Overton County Jail in 2005. Gilpatrick was sentenced to 108 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Loftis was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
In October, Gilpatrick was convicted by a jury of orchestrating the beating of an inmate at the request of former Overton County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Grigg, who was trying to find someone who would beat the inmate. Evidence presented at trial established that Gilpatrick conspired with Loftis and Grigg to have prisoners assault the victim inmate on Jan. 31, 2005. Loftis and Grigg pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge prior to the trial. Former Deputy Johnny Gann pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2006 to his role in covering up the episode.
“These law enforcement officers pledged to protect and serve, not to conspire and victimize,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The criminal behavior of these aberrant officers seriously undermines the dedicated efforts of the vast majority of law enforcement officers who serve honorably.”
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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Cohen for the Middle District of Tennessee and Civil Rights Division attorneys Gerry Hogan and Jim Felte prosecuted this case for the government.