The Mississippi Legislature appropriated $388,906 for the settlement of Mississippi Highway Patrol lawsuits earlier this year. The bill included $235,000 paid to victims of former trooper Christopher Hughes and $118,906 to Training Director Gayle McMullin for racial discrimination. DPS settled two more lawsuits since the bill became law. SB #2924 states:
(c) Gayle Miller McMullin v. Mississippi Department of Public Safety, et al, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Civil Action No. 3:13CV68-CWR-FKB.. $ 118,906.00.
(e) John A. Hawn v. Christopher (C.G.) Hughes, Michael Berthay, in their individual capacities, and the Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Mississippi, for declaratory relief; Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division, Cause No. 1:13-CV-36-GHD-DAS.. $ 35,000.00.
(t) John A. Hawn, Bryan Lindsey, Heather Seawrite, Ronnie Horton and Matilda Moore v. Former Trooper Christopher Hughes and Former Director of the Highway Patrol, Michael Berthay; United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-23-NBB-DAS....$ 235,000.00.
Ms. McMullin's case settled in October 2015. JJ reported:
Lieutenant McMullin claimed Mississippi Highway Patrol Colonel Don Barry discriminated against her when he promoted Master Sergeant Marshall Pack to the vacated position of Training Director. The plaintiff is white while Colonel Berry and Master Sergeant Pack are black. She argued -and two courts agreed- she was better qualified for the job. U.S. District Judge Carleton Reeves dismissed her case with prejudice on a motion for summary judgment but the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Reeves and ordered him to hold a trial. Judge Reeves is black and a former president of the Magnolia Bar in Jackson. However, the Fifth Circuit took the unusual step of publicly correcting Judge Reeves. Earlier post reporting sordid history of this case.
The other two settlements involves the lawsuits where Christopher Hughes was a defendant. Hughes had a nasty habit of savagely beating suspects. Fractured jaws, pulp-looking faces, and brain damage are some of the injuries that are mentioned when discussing the record of Christopher Hughes. One victim was an elderly lady. He served three years in federal prison for beating suspects and destroying evidence.
The bill is posted below. The relevant sections are highlighted in yellow.
Kingfish note: Several readers asked about the settlement for the Christopher Hughes lawsuit. The lawsuit is posted below as well and warning, it will make your blood boil. The actual events took place several years ago and were in North Mississippi. Thus the news coverage and the lawsuit were missed by us down here.