DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007                                                    PHONE: (409) 839-2538
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                CELL: (409) 553-9881

                                                                                                    

FORMER RUSK COUNTY CHIEF DEPUTY PLEADS GUILTY

TYLER, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a former deputy with the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office has pleaded guilty to civil rights violations in the Eastern District of Texas. 

            DANIEL “DUSTY” FLANAGAN, 37, of Henderson, admitted to violating the civil rights of a prisoner today before United States Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.

            According to information presented in court, o n November 9, 2006, Flanagan was employed as the Chief Deputy with the Rusk County Sheriff's Office.  That morning another officer arrested an individual on an outstanding state warrant.  Flanagan was contacted and instructed the officer to transport the prisoner to the Rusk County Sheriff's Office in Henderson, Texas.  He was then taken to Flanagan's office where he was interviewed.  Flanagan and two other officers were present in the office with the prisoner. Another officer was stationed outside the door during the incident
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            The man was placed on to a chair and interviewed.  Flanagan admitted that during questioning, a heated exchange of words occurred at which time one of the officers in the room grabbed the prisoner and hit him in the face.  Flanagan 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.  Flanagan also admitted that he took photographs of the office area where the assault occurred and wrote a fraudulent report regarding the incident. 

            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 faces 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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