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Federal judge allows release of jailhouse-beating videotape

By The Associated Press
08.30.07

GULFPORT, Miss. — The public now has access to the videotaped beating of a Harrison County jail inmate whose death 18 months ago spawned a federal investigation.

The videotape of the beating of Jessie Lee Williams Jr. had been kept sealed by federal court orders.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. made the video available in response to The Sun Herald newspaper's public-records requests and a resulting lawsuit that asked for the documents to be unsealed and returned to the public domain.

The newspaper posted the video — with warnings about its graphic nature — on its Web site Aug. 28.

Filmed by booking-room surveillance cameras, the tape has no sound, but shows pictures snapped every two or three seconds from the time Williams was brought in to the booking room at 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2006, until an ambulance crew picked him up around midnight.

Jurors in a nine-day trial ending Aug. 17 convicted jailer Ryan Teel of conspiring to deprive inmates' rights, using unnecessary, excessive force in Williams' fatal beating and obstructing justice by writing a false report.

Williams, of Gulfport, died of brain trauma.

Nine former jailers await sentencing in the federal investigation.

Another jail official was acquitted.


Previous
Federal court won't release inmate-beating video
'The right to a fair trial trumps all the First Amendment rights you may have,' magistrate judge says in denying Mississippi newspaper's request for tape, other records. 06.26.07

Related

Fla. police erase Michael Vick video after newspaper requests it

Atlanta Journal-Constitution learns of footage's deletion after issuing second records request; officials rejected initial request because tape was part of open investigation. 01.25.07

Fla. court: Video of fatal restaurant shooting can't be copied
Judge says allowing public to view, but not reproduce or distribute, security footage balances right to know with family's right to privacy. 07.28.08

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