Harvey Hill family attorney Carlos Moore (pictured) said the 2018 case of Harvey Hills murder at the Madison County detention center was the most egregious one he has ever seen. Photo courtesy Carlos Moore
Harvey Hill’s death at the Madison County Correctional Detention Center in 2018 is extremely troubling, family attorney Carlos E. Moore said after seeing the video of prison guards brutalizing him and later putting him in a cell. The 36-year-old was found in prison 46 minutes later and stopped responding.
The family’s lawsuit named Master Sgt James Ingram, Officer James Bufford, and Officer Terrence Evans as the three officers who brutalized Hill and caused his death.
“The Defendant Bufford assaulted Mr. Hill during the argument, as did the Defendants Ingram and Evans. They also sprayed Mr. Hill with pepper spray. Specifically, while on the ground, the Defendants Ingram and Evans held Mr. Hill while Officer Bufford kicked him in the head six or more times, “stated Hill’s family in an amended civil complaint filed in June.
“The late Harvey Hill was arrested on May 5, 2018 for trespassing. Later the next day, May 6, 2018, prison guards at the Madison County Detention Center administered Mr. Hill essentially the death penalty using excessive force, handcuffs and pepper spray.”
The lawsuit alleged that Harvey Hill experienced agitated delirium, which led to his unstable behavior, and that he needed emergency medical assistance which he did not receive but which was beaten and neglected. He was later officially pronounced dead at Merit Health Central Hospital in Jackson.
The state medical examiner’s office released Hill’s autopsy report in June describing his death as a murder.
“Most egregious prison death I have ever dealt with”
The family lawyer gave the Jackson Free Press an update on the case last week.
“After the autopsy report was released, it was turned over to the Madison County Attorney’s Office. It was also turned over to the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office in Jackson,” Moore told the Jackson Free Press. “And then we followed up the civil case. And we settled the civil case against all of the defendants (Madison County and Quality Correctional Health Care) back in October.” Reuters first reported the settlement on November 2, citing “a person with knowledge of the matter”.
“We put many of the perpetrators and witnesses in jail. They had a settlement conference with Judge (F. Keith) Ball and they settled the case,” the lawyer told the Jackson Free Press. This newspaper first reported on the Hill’s case in February 2019.
Moore said the U.S. attorney’s office for the southern Mississippi district requested copies of the deposits after the cash settlement, suggesting an ongoing investigation.
“I expect the case to be brought to a federal grand jury and I expect those responsible for Harvey’s death to be tried and prosecuted,” Moore said. “The grand jury’s process is confidential, but I know they’ll look into it because they asked for the deposit logs. I’ve been a lawyer for 18 years and I know if you ask for these transcripts they are under investigation. “”
“They won’t confirm or deny anything, but if I read between the lines I would expect a federal indictment this year or early next year,” he added. “I also hope a district attorney and Madison County hold the perpetrator responsible for the murder; the autopsy said murder by blunt violent trauma.
“A seemingly healthy man on a trespass charge (surfaced in prison), a simple offense and left dead. We know he was beaten; we saw the video,” he said.
Moore believes the incident is in violation of federal civil rights law and expects appropriate prosecution in this regard and criminal prosecution by the state. “I’m still confident that the state will do its job too, but that’s probably a long way. I think they’ll wait and see what the government does,” said Moore.
“This is the most egregious prison death I have ever dealt with,” he added. “There is clear and concise evidence that this in the first degree is nothing more than murder.”
Employment status of designated officials unclear
U.S. attorney Michael Hurst, from the southern district of Mississippi, declined to comment on the Harvey Hills case after the Jackson Free Press reached his office.
Madison County Sheriff’s spokesman Heath Hall, after that reporter called him Friday and Monday, has not yet disclosed the employment status of the officials named in the lawsuit allegedly involved in the brawl against Hill – Sergeant James Ingram, Officer James Bufford and Officer Terrence Evans.
“I made a request, (but) I haven’t heard anything about it,” Hall said on Monday.
Email story tips to town / county reporter Kayode Crown at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.