Richard Lillard


On July 20, 1958, Richard Lillard, a 38-year-old African-American inmate, died after being beaten in a padded cell in the Nashville City Workhouse, Nashville, Tennessee.  The autopsy report showed that the victim’s injuries included eight lacerations and three fractures, and the cause of death was hemorrhage, shock and cerebral concussion caused by “external violence.”  The three subjects, superintendent John William Burnett, and officers Lucien Harris Debow and Clark Patterson, claimed that the victim was “deranged” and had to be subdued after the victim had obtained a blackjack and a broom handle.

Incident Date: 
Sunday, July 20, 1958
Case Name: 
Richard Lillard
Industry Code: 
Civil Rights Division
Updated October 6, 2016