- Associated Press - Friday, March 1, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A former Mississippi prison guard was sentenced Friday to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty in November to beating an inmate.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan sentenced 27-year-old Reginald Laterry Brown on one count of civil rights violation in the May 2016 beating of inmate Leon Hayes at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.

Another guard, Shelley Griffith, pleaded guilty in federal court in December 2017, but has never been sentenced. The Department of Justice refused Friday to say why.

In a February statement to an FBI agent, Hayes said a third guard also beat him. That guard hasn’t been charged in federal court.

The 43-year-old Hayes, who’s serving a 30-year state sentence on assault and drug charges, remains imprisoned at South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville. He’s also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the guards. It’s pending in federal court, with Hayes representing himself.



In the statement to the FBI, Hayes said Brown, Griffith and the third guard entered his cell, with Brown slamming him headfirst. Brown has admitted to kicking, punching and stomping Hayes.

Hayes told the FBI agent that his neck, back and right side ribs still hurt from the beating and that he wanted the guards punished for their actions, saying “they are supposed to be security - not beat on me.”

“A correctional officer who inflicts cruel and unusual punishment on an inmate in his custody betrays the trust placed in those who hold positions of power and authority,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

Brown was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and a $1,500 fine. He’s free on bail and supposed to report to prison on April 15.

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