WASHINGTON – Eugene Morris, a former correctional officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was sentenced today in federal court in Houston for providing a false statement related to a federal civil rights investigation, the Justice Department announced. Morris was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release.
A federal jury in Houston found Morris guilty on May 21, 2008, of providing false information in an official report relating to the alleged assault of a prison inmate under his supervision. The evidence at trial focused on a physical altercation between Morris and an inmate in which the inmate suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries. Morris was convicted of falsely asserting in his report that the victim’s injuries were caused when the victim’s head unintentionally hit the floor during the struggle. Morris was charged with causing the victim’s injuries by kicking the inmate in the head while the inmate lay on the ground with his hands behind his back; however, the jury found Morris not guilty of a civil rights violation based on these allegations.
"We take any allegations of assaults by law enforcement officers very seriously, and we investigate them thoroughly. Officers who provide false statements to cover up this type of conduct are breaking the law, and they will be prosecuted," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruben Perez and Trial Attorney Edward Caspar from the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, including those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement or other government officials.