ATLANTA – Three former detention officers at the Fulton County Jail were sentenced Thursday for hampering a federal probe into the death of an inmate two years ago.
Curtis Jerome Brown, 42, of Lithonia, was sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison. Mitnee Markette Jones, 47, of Atlanta, was sentenced to one year and three months in prison. Both 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.
A third former jailer – Derontay Anton Langford, 35, of Atlanta – was sentenced to four months of home confinement as part of a three-year-long probation sentence. Langford, who cooperated with the federal investigation, pleaded guilty to an obstruction charge.
“Today the court sentenced three detention officers for obstructing a federal civil rights investigation of inmate abuse in the Fulton County Jail,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news 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.”
According to prosecutors, Brown, on Aug. 11, 2007, struck a handcuffed inmate at least twice after the inmate “disrupted a headcount by shouting a crude comment to a female detention officer.” Authorities also say Brown submitted a false account of the events.
In a separate incident in 2008, Brown, Jones and Langford omitted information from official reports about an inmate’s death. Testimony indicated the officers had an altercation with the inmate about an hour before he died.
“The actions of former Fulton County Detention Officers Brown, Jones and Langford are an erosion of the public’s ability to trust the law enforcement personnel who have taken an oath to protect against such egregious, criminal activity,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin said in a news release.
“We have zero tolerance for behavior that results in the mistreatment of citizens who come in contact with the Sheriff’s Office,” Fulton County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Carter said in a news release. “Employees are expected to be truthful in reporting and submissions of reports of their actions, investigations, and other related activities.”