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.
Daniel Dusty Flanigan, 38, of Henderson, pleaded guilty on July 18, 2007 to violating the civil rights of a prisoner. He was sentenced today by United States District Judge Michael Schneider. Flanagan will begin serving his sentence on May 27, 2008.
U.S. Attorney Ratcliffe said, "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, Flanagan was employed as the Chief Deputy with the Rusk County Sheriff's Office. That morning another officer arrested an individual on an outstanding state warrant. Flanagan was contacted and instructed the officer to transport the prisoner to the Rusk County Sheriff's Office in Henderson, Texas. He was then taken to Flanagan's office where he was interviewed. Flanagan and two other officers were present in the office with the prisoner. Another officer was stationed outside the door during the incident.
The man was placed in a chair and interviewed. Flanagan admitted that during questioning, a heated exchange of words occurred at which time one of the officers in the room 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. Flanagan also admitted that he took photographs of the office area where the assault occurred and wrote a fraudulent report regarding the incident.
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.