On January 8, 2013 Dale Clacks, a mentally disabled black man was charged with sexually molesting a six year old boy, and was taken into custody in the Holmes County jail at Bonifay in the Florida panhandle. The boy described his attacker as a tall man with dark hair. Clacks steadfastly denies his guilt and has requested DNA and polygraph tests. Ultimately questions about Clack's guilt or innocence and the punishment such a crime may deserve will have to be decided by a court, but in the interim the responsibility of Holmes County and especially of the Holmes County Sheriff is to hold Mr. Clacks under conditions that do not violate the most fundamental principles of human rights and constitutional law: no punishment without trial, no torture or deliberate brutalization under any circumstances.
On February 2, 2013, Dale Clack's mother, Debra Clacks contacted Policeabuse.com with a report that Captain Joel Patrick and two of his correctional officers had forced her son to drink urine out of the toilet, clean the toilet with a toothbrush, and then brush his teeth with it. After that they told other inmates that Clacks was a child molester and allowed them to beat him unconscious and sodomize him, leaving him with broken ribs, headaches, temporary blindness and a long scar on his cheek.
Diop Kamau arranged a three-way conversation with Mrs. Clacks and Holmes County Sheriff officials to alert them that Policeabuse.com was looking into misconduct in his jail. The sheriff, apparently grasping the severity of the charges and the possible consequences, instructed Internal Affairs to begin an investigation. According to Ms. Clacks, Dale told her that inmates spread the word throughout the jail that Sheriff Brown was acting nervous because Policeabuse.com was on the case.
Since then, Captain Patrick has been terminated from the Sheriff's office and been charged with a first degree misdemeanor assault against Dale Clacks We agree with Mrs. Clacks that the charge is too light "after what they deliberately did to my son." The two officers who worked under Captain Patrick have suspended, though one, Officer Mann, was recently permitted to return to his post without further punishment. Mann denies having participated in the event. However, Mrs. Clacks tells us that Officer Mann continues to treat her son disrespectfully. Policeabuse.com has contacted Sheriff Brown but he has refused to grant an interview "because the case has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement."
Policeabuse.com is not altogether happy with the current state of affairs in the Holmes County jail, and there are many questions we'd like to ask the Sheriff about how is staff is trained and supervised, but we count Dale Clacks as a success story because casting the internet light of day on Sheriff Brown's operation seems at least to have assured Clack's physical safety while awaiting trial.