Former Rusk County Lieutenant Sentenced - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/30/08 - Rusk

Former Rusk County Lieutenant Sentenced

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a former deputy with the Rusk County Sheriff's Office has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for civil rights violations in the Eastern District of Texas. 

Johnny Leon Davidson, 48, pleaded guilty on August 2, 2007 to violating the civil rights of a prisoner.  He was sentenced today by United States District Judge Michael Schneider.  Davidson will begin serving his sentence on June 30, 2008. 

"It is disturbing when these types of incidents occur," said U.S. Attorney Ratcliffe.  "We have, and will continue to hold accountable, any law enforcement officer who violates the very laws that he or she has sworn to uphold."

According to information presented in court, on November 9, 2006, Davidson was employed as the Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigative Unit of the Rusk County Sheriff's Office.  That morning, he arrested an individual on an outstanding state warrant and transported the prisoner to the Rusk County Sheriff's Office in Henderson, Texas, where the prisoner was interviewed in the Chief Deputy's office.  Davidson and Chief Deputy Daniel "Dusty" Flanagan were present in the office with the prisoner. Another officer was stationed outside the door during the incident.

The prisoner was placed in a chair and interviewed.  Davidson admitted that during questioning, a heated exchange of words occurred at which time he grabbed the prisoner and hit him in the face.  Flanagan then threw the man to the ground, jumped on him and kneed him in the back.  The man was handcuffed with his hands behind his back during the entire incident.  The victim was then taken to jail.  Davidson and Flanagan also admitted that photographs of the office area where the assault occurred were taken and a fraudulent report regarding the incident was written. 

The offense is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, which is Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law as secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, specifically the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to be free from the use of excessive force by one acting under color of law.  

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety Rangers and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Middleton.

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