The Alabama Attorney General has announced that former correctional lieutenant Michael Anthony Smith was arrested today for the murder of inmate Rocrast Mack at Ventress Correctional Facility in Barbour County on August 4, 2010.
Mr. Mack was serving a sentence for a non-violent drug crime when he was beaten to death by correctional officers at Ventress. He was 24 years old. Witnesses report that Mr. Mack was accused of looking at a female officer inappropriately, which prompted an assault by officers that turned into a brutal and vicious murder. Several officers were fired but no criminal charges were filed.
On August 8, 2011, EJI called for the immediate criminal prosecution of the Alabama correctional officers who brutally beat Mr. Mack to death. In letters sent to Barbour County District Attorney Ben Reeves and Attorney General Luther Strange, EJI asked the State of Alabama to initiate criminal prosecution against the officers who murdered Mr. Rocrast Mack, and EJI sent a similar letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking that federal charges be filed against those responsible for the crime.
On October 17, the Alabama Attorney General’s office presented evidence to a Barbour County grand jury, which resulted in an indictment charging that then-Lieutenant Michael Smith murdered Rocrast Mack “by beating him with his hands, fists, feet, and/or baton.”
“We’re encouraged that criminal charges have been filed for the horrific beating death of Mr. Mack,” said EJI director Bryan Stevenson. “We hope all who are criminally liable are held accountable for this tragedy and that state officials will do as much as possible to eliminate violent assaults and beatings within state prisons.”