/Attorney State to pay $235,000 to persons beaten by ex-trooper

Attorney State to pay $235,000 to persons beaten by ex-trooper

Officials from the state did not immediately comment. The Mississippi Legislature must approve the state payout. Christopher Hughes of Tupelo was once named the state Trooper of Year. He was accused of injuring and beating five people in separate incidents while he was working for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Jim Waide, Tupelo’s attorney, stated in a press release that Mississippi had agreed to pay $235,000 to his clients in damages following settlement negotiations. These negotiations were overseen by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders. The trial was scheduled for April 25th in Oxford. Waide stated that the settlement “resolved both Hughes’ civil liability” and that of his boss, the former Mississippi Highway Patrol Director Michael Berthay. Berthay was accused in the lawsuit of knowing about Hughes’ aggressive behavior towards citizens. An investigation by James Brown, Mississippi Highway Patrol Lieutenant, discovered that John A. Hawn had suffered severe facial injuries at the Lee County Jail. Hughes, 45, was arrested in 2012. He pleaded guilty to depriving Carol Wampler George of her civil rights. He was sentenced for 33 months and was recently released. Jason Herring, his Tupelo attorney, confirmed the settlement agreement. He said that Hughes and his family were happy to have everything settled. Hughes has been working in the kitchen since Hughes’ release earlier this year. The excessive force lawsuit against Hawn was brought by Bryan Lindsey, Ronnie Horton, Heather Seawright, and Matilda Moore (both of Lee County). Although their claims were different, the facts were very similar. * Horton (then 55) was chairman of his church’s Board of Deacons. Hughes mistakenly assumed that he was under the influence of alcohol when he lost consciousness on his way home. Hughes beat Horton’s face and licked his mouth. Horton also sustained neck and back injuries. Hughes used a flashlight to strike Seawright in the face. The Lee County Jail also saw her head smash against a glass wall. * Moore, a Tupelo schoolteacher, was then a passenger in Hughes’ vehicle. She admitted that she had drunk a glass after Tupelo High School graduation. Hughes took her to jail and threw her against a wall. He threatened to break her arm. Hawn was drinking beer after work on a building project. He drove around a Mississippi Highway Patrol roadblock in Mooreville. He claimed that Hughes had beaten him and ordered his partner destroy the tape. Hawn sustained a broken jaw, and other injuries. Hughes was never charged with any criminal offense for these actions. The Wampler George attack was brought to trial on civil rights and not criminal issues. In depositions, two highway patrol officers said that they had shown Berthay a tape of Hughes’ beating Wampler George. She was not a part of the civil suit. According to the complaint, Berthay did not take any disciplinary action against Hughes in relation to the Wampler George beating and Hughes continued his abuses of citizens. The suit settled Tuesday on the grounds of alleged abuse. One of Berthay’s lawyers, Hal Neilson, Oxford, stated that his client was “elated” by the outcome of the lawsuit. He said it exonerates the former MHP chief, and does not place any blame on him. Neilson stated that Berthay was retired at the time of these events and that he is happy to have this resolved. To support this work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. This will allow us to continue important work such as this one. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story You can freely republish our articles online or in print under a Creative Commons licence. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.