Former Corrections Officer Convicted of Federal Civil Rights Offenses and Obstruction of Justice for Beating Death of an Inmate at Ventress Correctional Facility
Montgomery, Alabama - Michael Smith, 38, a former corrections officer of the Alabama Department of Corrections and resident of Lee County, was convicted by a federal jury in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama of two civil rights violations and five obstruction of justice-related violations in connection with the beating death of former inmate Rocrast Mack, United States Attorney George L. Beck, Jr., announced today.
On August 4, 2010, Smith, a lieutenant with supervisory authority over other officers on his shift, repeatedly beat Mack with a baton and stomped on Mack’s head while Mack was restrained and could not fight back. Mack died from his injuries the next day at a Montgomery, Alabama, hospital. The incident occurred at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton, Alabama. The jury found that Mack’s death resulted from the assaults and that Smith obstructed justice by trying to cover up the assaults. After Smith was found guilty, U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson remanded Smith to jail pending his sentencing.
Two former corrections officers have already pleaded guilty for their role in the assaults. Scottie Glenn pleaded guilty on November 18, 2011, to one count of violating the civil rights of Mack for his role in the beating incident and to one count of conspiring with other corrections officers to cover up the beatings. Matthew Davidson pleaded guilty on January 15, 2013, to two civil rights violations and one count of conspiring with other officers to cover up the beatings. Both Davidson and Glenn are scheduled to be sentenced on July 30, 2013. A third former corrections officer, Joseph Sanders, is scheduled for trial on July 8, 2013.
Smith’s sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson is yet to be scheduled. Smith faces a maximum potential penalty of life in prison.
“The majority of our correction officers are dedicated to protecting and serving the public. Sadly, Smith was not so dedicated,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, George L. Beck, Jr. “Smith savagely beat and stomped a restrained man. There is no excuse for such behavior. I hope that the verdict handed down today brings some sense of justice to the victim’s family and reinforces the notion that no one is above the law.”
“This investigation represents the FBI’s unwavering commitment to protect all citizens from those who violate and abuse their positions of trust,” stated Stephen F. Richardson, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Mobile Division. “Public servants are bound by their oath to serve and protect our communities and any violation of a person’s civil rights will be met with severe consequences.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in partnership with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerusha T. Adams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Patricia Sumner of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
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