WASHINGTON – Daniel Lamont Evans, a corrections officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, pleaded guilty today to a one-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of inmates at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. Evans, who has been employed at the prison since September 2003, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The plea was announced jointly by Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and Dunn Lampton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.
In documents filed in federal court today, Evans admitted that he participated in a conspiracy with other correctional officers to intentionally use excessive force to punish, intimidate, injure, oppress, threaten and retaliate against inmates at the facility. Evans is the seventh Harrison County Sheriff’s Department deputy to plead guilty to a civil rights crime or obstruction offense since Jessie Lee Williams Jr. died in custody on Feb. 4, 2006. Other defendants who have pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy include: Deputy Regina Rhodes, Deputy Morgan Thompson, Deputy Dedri Caldwell, Deputy Thomas Preston Wills, Deputy Jeffrey Priest, and Deputy Timothy Brandon Moore.
Earlier this year, a federal grand jury returned a five-count superseding indictment, charging Ryan Michael Teel, James Ricky Gaston, Karl Walter Stolze and Evans with a civil rights conspiracy to assault inmates. The trial for the remaining three defendants is scheduled to begin on Aug. 6, 2007.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In fiscal year 2006, almost 50 percent of the cases filed by the Criminal Section involved excessive force or law enforcement misconduct. Since fiscal year 2001, the Division has filed 25 percent more such cases and convicted nearly 50 percent more defendants in these cases than in the preceding six years.
Civil Rights Division prosecutors Lisa M. Krigsten and John Cotton Richmond handled this matter for the Department. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation assisted the Department of Justice in its investigation of this matter.