Former Corrections Officers Sentenced for Federal Civil Rights Offenses and Obstruction of Justice for Beating Death of an Inmate at Ventress Correctional Facility in Alabama
The Justice Department announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson sentenced four former corrections officers of the Alabama Department of Corrections – Michael Smith, Matthew Davidson, Joseph Sanders and Scottie Glenn – in connection with the beating death of former inmate Rocrast Mack. Smith, 39, who was convicted by a federal jury on June 25, 2013, of seven counts of civil rights violations and obstruction of justice, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. Davidson, 45, who pled guilty to two civil rights violations and an obstruction of justice violation, was sentenced to seven years. Sanders, 32, who pled guilty to an obstruction of justice violation, was sentenced to five years. Glenn, 30, who pled guilty to a civil rights violation and a conspiracy violation, was sentenced to five years.
The incident occurred at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton, Ala., on Aug. 4, 2010, and at the time of the incident Smith was a lieutenant with supervisory authority over other officers on his shift. According to the evidence presented at trial, Smith assaulted Mack in an office in the prison, repeatedly striking him with a baton, stomping on him and kicking him. The evidence also showed that Smith assaulted Mack again several minutes later in the medical unit by repeatedly stomping on Mack’s head. Mack died the following morning in a Montgomery, Ala., hospital.
“These defendants each played a role in the vicious and fatal beating of Mr. Mack, and then they lied to authorities to conceal their culpability,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department’s Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels. “Their actions run completely counter to the responsibilities and trust given to law enforcement officers. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those officers who commit such heinous criminal acts, and I hope that these sentencings help bring some measure of closure to the Mack family.”
“The majority of our corrections officers are dedicated to protecting and serving the public,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George L. Beck Jr. “These correctional officers were not so dedicated. These correctional officers savagely beat, stomped, and tortured a restrained man and then lied to protect themselves. There is no excuse for such behavior. Correctional officers walk a tough line, but they cannot cross that line into the criminal element. I hope that these sentences bring some sense of justice to the victim’s family and reinforce the notion that no one is above the law.”
This case was investigated by the Mobile, Ala., Division of the FBI in partnership with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Patricia Sumner of the department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerusha Adams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.