WASHINGTON – Harold Hutcheson, a former captain at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NCC), in Tiptonville, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Jackson, Tenn., to violating the civil rights of an inmate and then lying about it during the state and federal investigations, the Justice Department announced.
During his guilty plea, Hutcheson admitted that on April 15, 2008, while working as a corrections officer at the NCC, he used unreasonable force when he repeatedly kicked a handcuffed inmate without provocation. Hutcheson agreed that his assault violated the inmate’s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by law enforcement officers. Additionally, Hutcheson admitted that he obstructed justice when he provided false information about the incident to federal investigators.
Hutcheson faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a maximum fine of $350,000.
Previously, Ryan Joshua Jones and Roger Forrester, both former corrections officers at NCC, each pleaded guilty for their roles in the assault of the inmate and for lying during the investigation. Jones and Forrester are scheduled to be sentenced on July 22, 2010.
“Correctional officers are given a great amount of authority to effectively carry out their critical public safety responsibilities. The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those officers who abuse that authority by violating the rights of those under their supervision,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
Today’s plea resulted from the investigative work of the FBI and the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section. The case is being prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Jared Fishman and Chris Lomax.