Three Former Augusta Georgia Correctional Officers Indicted For Civil Rights Violation
Former Augusta, George State Medical Prison correctional officers John Williams, Antonio Binns, and Justin Washington, have been charged with a civil rights violation. The indictment alleges that on February 13, 2014, the three assaulted an inmate, known in the case as “C.V.” while he was handcuffed behind his back. Binns and Washington were also indicted for one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly writing false reports to cover-up the assault.
According to the Augusta Chronicle, bonds of $20,000 were set for Williams and Washington, and a $30,000 bond was set for Binns. Binns’ bond will be lowered to $20,000 if he loses his job, according to court documents.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia and Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Division made the announcement.
If convicted of the civil rights charge, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The obstruction of justice counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The Southern Center for Human Rights called on the Department of Justice to investigate in 2014 after a string of homicides and other violence. Between 2011 and 2013, three inmates at Augusta State Medical Prison were murdered. A total of 34 homicides occurred in Georgia prisons between 2010 and 2014.
Other Investigations Into Georgia Prisons
In February, the federal “Operation Ghost Guard” undercover operation led to the indictment of 46 correction officers at nine Georgia prisons. The two-year investigation, according to news reports, involved guards willing to take cash for bringing contraband – liquor, tobacco and cellphones into correctional centers for inmates.
FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson called the two-year investigation, “unprecedented” in scope.
“While the vast majority of those working within Georgia’s correctional facilities are dedicated and loyal officers and employees, criminal and corrupt activities were found in 11 of the 35 state corrections facilities. Central to those illegal activities inside the prisons was the unbridled use of cell phones.”
The contraband cell phones were used to organize drug trafficking inside prisons, to perpetrate identity theft and conduct phone scams such as the “jury scams” that resulted in tens of thousands of dollars. The prisoners then used the money to pay-off correctional officers to protect drug deals.
According to the FBI press release;
“The February indictments focused on correctional officers who were willing to sell their badges—to use their law enforcement credentials to protect what they believed to be drug deals involving large shipments of methamphetamine and cocaine. In a series of FBI undercover operations, more than 45 officers agreed to protect the supposed drug deals in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes. During the undercover deals, the officers often wore their official uniforms or displayed their badges to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.”
Posted on 05/02/2016, in Cases, civil rights and tagged Antonio Binns, Atlanta, civil rights, correctional officers, FBI, Georgia, indicted, John Williams, jury scams, Justin Washington, Operation Ghost Guard. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.