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Jones County, Sheriff Berlin, and Four Deputies Sued for $5 Million in Thirteen Count Civil Rights Complaint.

Sheriff Berlin aka #SmokinJoeBerlin and Andrew Yates aka #ShadyYates

Sheriff Joe Berlin, Sergeant Jake Driskell, Captain Vince Williams, Deputy Andrew Yates, Deputy Chase Smith, and Jones County have been sued on thirteen counts in federal court involving ten separate Constitutional violations.  The complaint alleges that under Sheriff Berlin, the sheriff’s department has a culture that not only encourages civil rights violations, but protects officers who repeatedly violate the civil rights of citizens. The complaint alleges that four deputies and the sheriff have committed the following violations:

  • Warrantless Search (Yates, Smith, and Williams)
  • Unlawful Seizure (Yates, Williams and Smith)
  • Unlawful Search (Yates)
  • Excessive Force (Yates and Williams)
  • False Arrest (Yates and Williams)
  • Failure to Intercede (Williams, Yates, Smith, Driskell, Berlin)
Sergeant #JakeTheSnakeDriskell

The complaint also states that, ”

“The JCSD has a history of fabricating material facts against arrestees and victims of excessive force.”

The complaint further states,

“The Defendants are liable for their constitutional violations and all resulting damages and harms. The constitutional violations resulted from the policies and customs as established and observed by the final policymaker for the Jones County Sheriff’s Department (“JCSD”), Sheriff Berlin. The systemic abuses by the JCSD and Sheriff Berlin result from a custom and culture which encourages, sanctions, minimizes, and protects violations of the constitutional rights of regular citizens.”

The complaint lists five “Occurrences” that support the claim. The complaint states the following:

“120. OCCURRENCE 1 – In January 2023, Sheriff Berlin committed unlawful seizure and simple assault on Monterian Dotson. Sheriff Berlin stopped the assault when he realized he was being observed. Sheriff Berlin slammed Mr. Dotson on a woman’s truck and she yelled at him to stop. Charges were not pressed against Mr. Dotson.”

“121. OCCURRENCE 2 – In September 2022, Sheriff Berlin entered the football locker room

Captain Vince “7 Finger” Williams

at South Jones High School and unlawfully seized and assaulted a ninth grader. Charges were not pressed against the ninth grader.”

“122. OCCURRENCE 3 – On February 13, 2020, a mom was falsely arrested by the JCSD while in her home. She was then left in jail from February 13, 2020, to February 15, 2020. She was never allowed to see a judge. The JCSD sent her mugshot to the local newspaper advising that she had been charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The local newspaper published her mugshot with the caption that she had been charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. However, Ms. Hayes was never charged, and no affidavits or arrest warrants were filed or issued.”

“123. OCCURRENCE 4 – In November 2021, Captain Williams was working out Xtreme Fitness when he assaulted James Mitchell and falsely arrested and charged Mr. Mitchell with various criminal acts when the video from the gym showed Captain Williams as the aggressor.”

Jones County Deputy Chase Smith
Jones County Deputy Chase Smith

“124. OCCURRENCE 5 – JCSD Reserve Deputy Charles Ryan Walters shot Corey Donald in the back and kicked him in the head, causing his death. While the investigation was being handled by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Sheriff Berlin gave statements to the media that Corey Donald was shot because he reached for Deputy Walters’ gun. However, the video obtained by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation contradicted Sheriff Berlin’s version of events.”

One claim in particular potentially poses enormous problems for the county. Count 13 is a “Monell Claim” against Sheriff Berlin. The complaint states,

“113. On information and belief, the JCSD has a custom and culture of violating the constitutional rights of others. Though not a written policy, this custom was so widespread as to have the force of law.”

“115. The JCSD has a history of wrongfully tolerating, condoning, and encouraging constitutional violations. As a result, the custom and culture at the JCSD is for the JCSD to protect its deputies when they violate the constitutional rights of others, and where the JCSD only”

“116. The JCSD has a history of fabricating material facts against arrestees and victims of excessive force.”

(Profanity in below video clip of Captain Vince “7 Finger” Williams

“117. The JCSD has acted with deliberate indifference to a pattern of past occurrences of constitutional violations of citizens such that its deputies feel empowered to act with impunity.”

“118. These customs and practices are the moving force behind the violations of the Plaintiffs’ rights enumerated herein.”

“125. Sheriff Berlin has never taken corrective action to fix the culture within his department or correct his misstatements to the media.”

The complaint, which was filed by Matthew Lawrence and Michael Cory, on behalf of Deshon Bayless and Angela Page demands in part,

“1. Compensatory damages of at least $1,000,000 or such other amount supported by the evidence at trial;”

“2. Punitive damages of at least $4,000,000 or such other amount supported by the evidence at trial;”

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, email [email protected] or message the Facebook Page.


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