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Three Fulton County, Georgia Jail Guards Sentenced in Prisoner Abuse Investigation

Three guards from Georgia’s Fulton County Jail (FCJ) have been sentenced on federal charges related to an investigation into prisoner abuse at the jail. Two of the guards received prison time; the third received home confinement after assisting prosecutors.

The FBI had investigated the guards due to two incidents at the FCJ. The first involved guard Curtis Jerome Brown, Jr. After a prisoner disrupted count time on August 11, 2007 by shouting a crude remark at a female guard, Brown handcuffed the prisoner and escorted him to an administrative segregation area.

While walking the prisoner down a hallway that was not monitored by video cameras, Brown stopped, yelled at the prisoner and hit him in the mouth. Blood was splattered on the floor and wall. Shocked by his behavior, another guard reported Brown to a supervisor. Brown later wrote a report about the incident that included false information.

In a separate March 2008 incident, guards Mitnee Markette Jones, Derontay Anton Langford, Brown, and an unidentified guard entered the cell of prisoner Richard Glasco, who was being loud and banging on his cell door and window. Approximately an hour after the guards subdued Glasco with force, he was discovered unresponsive and not breathing on the floor of his cell. He was subsequently pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The medical examiner found the cause of death was “probably dysrhythmia associated with acute psychotic episode and agitation.” Glasco had been in a medical cell due to a mental health condition that required treatment with medication. [See: PLN, April 2010, p.50; Dec. 2009, p.34; Nov. 2009, p.50].

The group of guards filed false reports concerning the incident that resulted in Glasco’s death. What made the reports false was the omission of a key fact: that the guards had entered the cell and had a physical altercation with Glasco.

Brown and Jones, in separate trials, were convicted of lying to a federal grand jury, making false statements to an FBI agent and writing false incident reports with the intent to hinder a federal investigation. Brown was sentenced to 27 months in prison and Jones received a 15-month prison sentence, both on October 28, 2010. They were also sentenced to three years’ supervised release and 120 hours of community service.

Langford was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation after entering into a guilty plea that required his cooperation with federal prosecutors. In return, he was sentenced to four months home confinement as part of three years’ supervised release.

“These convictions and sentences affirm our strong commitment to pursue justice even when those who are sworn to uphold the law attempt to hide the truth,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Q. Yates.

Glasco’s sister, Yolanda, testified at the guards’ sentencing hearing, explaining the impact of her brother’s death on his five children and other family members.

“They don’t have a father. I don’t have a brother. A part of me died when he died,” she said. “I just want justice for my brother. He’s gone and I want it to mean something.”

Sources: Augusta Chronicle, FBI press release

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