In July 2009, Southaven, MS resident, Chad Wilson and his girlfriend were taken to the Desoto County, MS Sheriff’s Department jail after being arrested by Horn Lake, MS police for a misdemeanor charge. Shortly after arriving at the jail, Chad was physically assaulted by at least one Desoto County jailor, and his right eye socket was broken–necessitating his transport to the Baptist Hospital-Desoto for emergency treatment for his injuries. Chad was hospitalized for three days before being released back to his home.
A lawsuit was brought against Desoto County and several of the jailors involved for violation of Mr. Wilson’s civil rights and for the injuries he sustained while in custody. According to the testimony in the case, the jail is under 24/7 video surveillance. Despite the fact that there was video of Mr. Wilson coming and going in the jail, the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department denied that there was any video surveillance of the incident leading up to and resulting in his injuries. In fact, Desoto County’s official position was that Mr. Wilson simply tripped over his own feet and fell, causing him to hit his face on the floor. The County emphatically denied that he was ever assaulted at the hands of the jailors.
Interestingly enough, the video surveillance was pulled by command staff with the jail within a day or so of the incident, it was reviewed by the same command staff, and the decision was made to destroy or tape over the video coverage. When Mr. Wilson requested a copy of the video tape, he was told that it never existed.
After approximately 3 hours of deliberation, a North Mississippi jury returned a unanimous verdict for the Plaintiff awarding him $250,000.00 in damages.
According to Mr. Wilson’s attorney, Philip A. Stroud of The Stroud Law Firm in Southaven, MS, “I truly believe that justice was served in this case. Over a two day trial, the jury repeatedly heard that the County refused to accept any responsibility for this man’s injuries or for the outrageous conduct of its jailors. No one should have to endure what Mr. Wilson endured at the hands of the individuals who took an oath to protect and serve. I am proud to announce that two years after this incident, a jury of Mr. Wilson’s peers let it be known that this type of conduct is unacceptable in this community”
Desoto County Sheriff’s Department was represented by Cleveland, MS attorneys, Danny Griffithand Michael Carr of the Griffith & Griffith law firm.
The Desoto Times Tribune, “County Could Appeal Verdict”, November 19, 2011.