Video shows Ghraib-like torture by sheriffs lead to man's death, say groups, family
On Feb. 6, 2006, Jessie Lee Williams, Jr., a 40-year-old black man in a Southern Mississippi jail, was allegedly hooded and hog-tied by police, beaten about the head and testicles and ultimately died from blunt injuries to the head.
The coroner determinedthe death was a homicide. The local sheriff indicated law enforcement agencies were investigating and that the individual targeted by the investigation is “no longer employed by the Harrison County Sheriff’sDepartment.”
Despite the fact that the beating was videotaped, no arrests have been made.
Williams’ family has filed a $150 million civil suit for damages. Last Friday, the sheriff’s attorney in the Williams case asked the court to halt the civil proceedings until the criminal investigation is complete in order to avoid self-incrimination.
The complaintdocuments numerous previous incidents of abuse in the Harrison County jail booking room where Williams died, including beatings, hooding, use of a restraint chair – called “the torture chair” or “the devil’s chair” by inmates – and a technique similar to water-boarding where a sheet was wrapped tightly around the head of a man in the restraint chair and water was poured into the breathing hole.
In April, US Attorney Dunn Lampton told reporters,“We’re moving at a good speed.” Lampton told Harrison County Sheriff George Payne not to discuss the investigation with anyone and Payne has not returned RAW STORY’s calls.