An ex-prison supervisor in Clayton, Ala., has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after fatally beating inmate Rocrast Mack in August of 2010. The other guards involved were given significantly shorter sentences.
Mack, 24, was serving a 20-year sentence for drug conviction at Ventress Correctional Facility, where former Lt. Michael Smith (pictured) was a shift supervisor.
Smith, 38, was responding to a female officer’s radio call. She had reportedly hit Mack after catching him inappropriately touching himself in bed. After Mack hit her back, the officer called Smith for help.
Smith called three other guards for back-up: Scottie Glenn, Matthew Davidson and Joseph Sanders. The four men repeatedly beat the 5-foot-11, 160-pound inmate severely. Smith was reportedly angry over the female officer suffering a bloody lip. According to witnesses, Smith punched and kicked Mack in order to convey the message that he should never touch any of his officers.
Smith continued to punch the inmate, even after Mack was taken to the prison infirmary, notes the Daily Journal. Mack died the next morning at a Montgomery hospital.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson increased Smith’s sentence to 30 years today.
Smith was convicted of violating Mack’s constitutional rights, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The other three officers received shorter sentences for participating in the attack and for covering up what happened.
“In my opinion, because of the torture and dastardly acts committed, the sentences could have been and should have been much higher,” said U.S. Attorney George Beck.
Davidson received a seven-year sentence for two counts of violating Mack’s rights and one count for conspiracy. Glenn, Davidson and Sanders each received a five-year sentence. According to the Press, Glenn and Davison pleaded guilty to violating Mack's rights and conspiracy. Sanders pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.
The judge explained that these officers received lesser sentences because Davidson had called for medical help, while Glenn and Sanders had tried to get Smith to stop beating the inmate.
According to the Huffington Post, the state Department of Corrections has had cases before where officers were fired or disciplined for abusing inmates, but Mack’s case was “unprecedented.”
“You don’t keep stomping and kicking someone,” said Mack’s niece, Keyvon Ollison of Montgomery. “That’s as low as you can get.”
Mack’s family sued the state of Alabama after his death and reached a $900,000 settlement, with $440,000 of it going to his 5-year-old son.
“Justice has been served for my son,” Mack’s father, Larry Mack, said outside the courtroom.