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Lawsuit: Former sheriff falsely blamed jailers for 3 escapes

Two former jailers are suing an ex-sheriff in Mississippi, saying he had them arrested and falsely charged to deflect attention from himself after three jail escapes.

Posted: May 25, 2018 4:31 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two former jailers are suing an ex-sheriff in Mississippi, saying he had them arrested and falsely charged to deflect attention from himself after three jail escapes.

Reginald Butler and Jacobs Johnson are seeking at least $1 million against former Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis, the Clarion Ledger reported Friday.

Butler and Johnson were charged with misdemeanors in May 2015, weeks after three inmates escaped the Hinds County jail in downtown Jackson. Two of those who escaped had been charged with capital murder and one had been charged with carjacking. All three were recaptured.

Charges against Butler and Johnson were dismissed at the request of the deputy who filed them. The federal lawsuit says the deputy told the prosecutor that Lewis had instructed her to blame Butler. It also says the deputy brought charges against Johnson because she feared retaliation from Lewis.

Hinds County Supervisors' Attorney Pieter Teeuwissen said Friday he wouldn't comment on a pending lawsuit but said: "We take the allegations seriously."

Lewis could not be reached by the newspaper Friday. He was elected sheriff in 2011 and lost a bid for re-election in 2015.

In 2015, when Lewis announced the firing and charges against the two jailers and also that a third employee was fired for sleeping on the job, he told the media he expected his employees to adhere to the policies and procedures and to abide by them.

"We expect more arrests to come in this investigation in hopes of getting all the bad apples out of the system," Lewis said at the time.

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