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Press Release

Mississippi Officer Sentenced for Assault of Restrained Juvenile Detainee

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Edward Gibson, a former officer at a Mississippi juvenile detention facility, was sentenced today in federal court to 24 months incarceration followed by three years supervised release for beating a shackled juvenile, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar of the Northern District of Mississippi, and Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Jackson Field Division.

Gibson, 28, was working as an officer at the Leflore County Juvenile Detention Center on June 16, 2016, when he assaulted a teenage victim who was in handcuffs and leg shackles. Gibson threw an electric fan at the victim, hitting him in the upper chest. Gibson then punched the victim multiple times before being pulled off by two other officers. The other officers had to step in two more times to prevent Gibson from further assaulting the victim, who was in restraints throughout the entire incident.

According to admissions made by Gibson during the plea hearing, the victim was never physically aggressive toward Gibson, and Gibson assaulted him only because the victim made statements that angered him. Gibson weighed approximately 315 pounds; the victim weighed approximately 130 pounds. 

Gibson’s supervisor, Dianne Williams, was sentenced on Aug. 23 to time served for helping cover up the assault. She had pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, admitting that she knew the assault had occurred, did not inform a responsible authority, and helped cover it up by writing a false report.

“Detention officers have an important duty to protect juveniles in their care from abuse or bodily harm,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “This Department will continue to prosecute detention officers who engage in illegal acts of violence or attempts to obstruct justice, in order to better protect the civil rights of detained individuals.”

“We are morally, constitutionally, and legally obligated to treat people humanely and we will continue to enforce the laws protecting the civil rights of all individuals,” said U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar for the Northern District of Mississippi.

“Deprivation of civil rights by a public official compromises the public’s trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Freeze. “The FBI will continue to rigorously investigate violations of civil rights.”

This case was investigated by the Jackson Division of the FBI, with the cooperation of the Leflore County Detention Center and the Leflore County Detention Center. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Mims of the Northern District of Mississippi and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.   

Updated September 12, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-1180