Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jax jury convicts former FSP officer

A federal jury in Jacksonville convicted a former Florida State Prison officer for assaulting an inmate three years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Paul Tillis, who once had worked at the prison north of Starke in Bradford County, was found guilty last week of a felony federal civil rights violation for the August 2005 incident. He now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A court date for the sentencing has not yet been set, the Department of Justice reported.

Tillis had been accused of pouring scalding water on an inmate’s chest after as the man, who was pretending he was injured, was lying on a cell floor, according to the Department of Justice. The inmate received second-degree burns. Tillis also did not arrange to get the inmate medical treatment.

“It is important that corrections officers realize they may not use their positions of authority to inflict physical harm on inmates as punishment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King for the Civil Rights Division in a statement. “While the vast majority of law enforcement officers carry out their difficult duties in a lawful and professional manner, the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute those who cross the line and commit this type of unlawful act.”

(Source :

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