United States v. Gray, No. 11-3143 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Benton, a pre-trial detainee was hospitalized for seizures. Benton resisted return to jail. Officers used double handcuffs, shackles, and a belly chain. Gray and others escorted Benton to the jail’s Medical Unit. Benton was supposed to be placed on a bed without restraints. Benton resisted and made threats. While Benton was restrained, Gray placed Benton in a carotid restraint or a “sleeper hold.” Benton lost consciousness. Gray ordered removal of Benton’s restraints. Officers heard choking sounds, but Gray did not stop. After the restraints were removed, Gray ordered the others to leave. Benton was silent and motionless when they left. Despite a requirement that officers seek medical attention when force is used or an inmate is injured, Gray did not inform medical personnel. Minutes later, a deputy entered Benton’s cell. Benton was not breathing. Benton was later declared brain dead. Following fabricated reports, Gray lied to Internal Affairs; the coroner pronounced death by natural causes. An external investigation began four years later due to statements by a correctional officer. The coroner changed her verdict to homicide. Convicted of civil rights violations, 18 U.S.C. 242, falsifying and making false entries in a document, 18 U.S.C. 1519, and making false statements to an FBI agent, 18 U.S.C. 1001, Gray received a below-guidelines sentence of 36 months. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.