WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Jacksonville, Fla., indicted a former Florida State Prison correctional officer on federal civil rights charges related to an August 2005 assault on an inmate, the Justice Department announced today. Paul Tillis was charged with violating the civil rights of the inmate by intentionally pouring hot water on the inmate, causing bodily injury. If convicted, Tillis faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the Jacksonville Division of the FBI and the Florida Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mac Heavener of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Christine Dunn and Douglas Kern.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as the laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights law enforcement prosecutions. In fiscal year 2007, the Criminal Section convicted the highest number of defendants in its history, surpassing the record previously set in fiscal year 2006. During the last seven years, the Criminal Section obtained convictions of 53 percent more defendants (391 v. 256) in law enforcement prosecutions than it did during the previous seven years.