Justice Department Informs City of Lexington and Lexington Police Department That Automatically Jailing People for Unpaid Fines Violates Constitution
Tesa Keith, 38, a former direct service provider at the San Angelo State Supported Living Center in San Angelo, Texas, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for violating the civil rights of K.B., a resident at the facility, announced Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox, and FBI Dallas Division Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno.
“The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the defenseless in our society,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to seeking justice for victims of civil rights abuses.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate this kind of unwarranted brutality against our District’s most vulnerable,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox.
“Our most vulnerable citizens have the right to expect the highest level of care from those charged with keeping them safe. What Ms. Keith did is reprehensible and today’s sentence clearly demonstrates the FBI is committed to justice for the victims of violence targeting defenseless individuals,” said Special Agent in Charge DeSarno. “The FBI and our federal, state, and local partners will continue to diligently work to identify and investigate any type of federal crimes targeting those who are dependent on others for their daily care.”
According to court documents filed in connection with the plea, Keith was working on June 13, 2017, as a Direct Service Provider at the San Angelo State Supported Living Center, a state-run facility. K.B. was a resident of the facility. Keith admitted to kicking K.B. in the face without legal justification and for the purpose of punishing her. Keith’s assault on K.B. resulted in bodily injury to K.B.
The FBI’s Dallas Field Office and San Angelo Resident Agency conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Juanita Fielden of the Northern District of Texas and Trial Attorneys Rose E. Gibson and Kate Hill of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.