DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2007                                            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                     PHONE: (409) 839-2538
                                                                                                            CELL: (409) 553-988

FORMER RUSK COUNTY LIEUTENANT PLEADS GUILTY
TO CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

(TYLER, TX)              United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a second former deputy with the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office has pleaded guilty to civil rights violations in the Eastern District of Texas.  JOHNNY LEON DAVIDSON, JR., 48, admitted to violating the civil rights of a prisoner yesterday before United States Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.

            According to information presented in court, o n November 9, 2006, Davidson was employed as the Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigative Unit of the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.  That morning he arrested an individual on an outstanding state warrant and transported the prisoner to the Rusk County Sheriff's Office in Henderson, Texas, where the prisoner was interviewed in the chief deputy’s office.  Davidson, Chief Deputy Daniel “Dusty” Flanagan and another officer was present in the office with the prisoner. An additional officer was stationed outside the door during the incident.

            The man was seated in a chair and interviewed.  Davidson admitted that during questioning, a heated exchange of words occurred at which time he grabbed the prisoner and hit him in the face.  Flanagan earlier admitted that he then threw the man to the ground, jumped on him and kneed him in the back.  The man was handcuffed with his hands behind his back during the entire incident.  The victim was then taken to jail.  Davidson and Flanagan also admitted that photographs of the office area where the assault occurred were taken and a fraudulent report regarding the incident was written. 

            The offense is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, which is Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law as secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, specifically the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to be free from the use of excessive force by one acting under color of law.  

            Flanagan pleaded guilty to similar charges on July 18, 2007.  Both men face up to ten years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at sentencing.  A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

            This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Middleton.

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