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Justice Department Seal 3Little Rock, Ar.—A 56-year-old Stone County, Ark., former Chief Deputy and jail administrator with the Stone County Sheriff’s Office Thursday pled guilty before Chief U.S. Federal Court Judge Brian S. Miller to violating the civil rights of a prisoner by ordering two other inmates to beat him and arranging the beating.
Randel Branscum of Mountain View, pled guilty to asking two other inmates to “handle” the prisoner for him and then he admitted to forcing the prisoner into the cell with the two inmates who were given tobacco for their services.
The victim was struck several times and his head punched into a window sill causing lacerations and other injuries.
Branscum is expected to be sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for his offense. Formal sentencing will take place at a later date.
Head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General Vanita Gupta said Branscum abused his authority as a law enforcement officer by facilitating the assault of and individual in custody” She added, “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously pursue and hold accountable members of law enforcement who violate their oath and the civil rights of others”
This was echoed by U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer who said “Branscum’s actions undermine the credibility of all law enforcement officers and he must be held accountable. “Thyer went on to say “we will not tolerate the violation of anyone’s rights, and law enforcement officers who break the law and violate their oath to protect the public will continue to face the consequences of their actions.”
The two inmates who carried out the beating also have pled guilty to civil rights violations. Matthew McConniel entered his plea Thursday and James Beckham entered his plea on Feb. 26.
The case was investigated by the FBI .It was prosecuted by Special litigation counsel Gerard Hogan and trial attorneys Gabriel Davis and Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and U. S. Attorney Julie Peters of the Eastern District of Arkansas.
To view the U.S. Justice Department’s full statement on the case, click Branscum civil rights press release

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