Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brody's Notes... Plea Agreement Reached In A Case Of Police Brutality In Memphis

By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) AUG 29 | Bridges McRae, a former Memphis Police officer, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to a felony civil rights charge of using excessive force against a transgendered woman, Duanna Johnson,  while booking her into the Shelby County Jail two years ago.
Memphis Flyer Staff Reporter John Branston, writes in an article published last Thursday:
McRae was tried in federal court in April but the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The case attracted widespread attention because of a videotape that showed McRae beating Johnson in the corrections center's booking area.
During the plea hearing, McRae admitted that Johnson had been in his custody when he used an unreasonable amount of force against her when he struck her. McRae acknowledged that his conduct violated federal law and that he violated Johnson’s civil rights. He further admitted that his attack caused bodily injury to Johnson in the form of cuts, bruises, and pain.
Will Batts, Executive Director of The Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Centre is happy that the former officer will serve time behind bars, but feels two years is too light of a sentence. In an interview with a local television news reporter, Batts said:
“It’s incredibly senseless. It’s hard to imagine somebody watching that and not feeling horror.”
Entering the guilty plea one month before his scheduled retrial, McRae is positioning himself to receive a two-year sentence rather than the 10 years he would have faced if convicted by a jury.