Ex-trooper accused of beatings, his supervisors of ignoring them

By PATSY R. BRUMFIELD/Daily Journal

TUPELO – A new civil lawsuit accuses a federally indicted former state trooper of violence toward the public and his supervisors of looking the other way.
Saltillo carpenter John A. Hawn claims Christopher Gary Hughes of Tupelo severely beat him after a July 2012 traffic stop, directed another trooper to destroy the video and then filed charges against Hawn to hold over him to avert legal repercussions.
Hughes could not be reached for comment late Friday, and neither could a spokesman in Jackson for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
The MHP supervisors’ names are not listed because they will not be known until further investigation, the lawsuit states.
Coincidentally, 40-year-old Hughes is scheduled to plead guilty to a federal charge during a hearing Monday. The specifics are not available, but the plea comes after his indictment on charges he deprived a woman of her civil rights in 2007 when he allegedly stomped her while in his custody in the Lee County Jail.
In Hawn’s lawsuit complaint, filed by Tupelo attorneys Jim Waide, Shane McLaughlin and Victor Fleitas, they say Hughes beat Hawn “in a state of rage” after Hawn drove around a roadblock set up by Hughes and then-MHP officer Jody Berryhill at State Park Road and Highway 178 on July 16.
Berryhille no longer works for MHP.
Hawn suffered a broken jaw and other injuries and was held in jail for five days.
The lawsuit claims that this incident likely was reported to the FBI.
Since “at least 2007,” the new lawsuit claims that Hughes’ supervisors knew about his “propensity for violence” and did nothing about it.
The suit names six other people allegedly assaulted by Hughes – under the color of law – including the woman whose beating prompted the federal civil rights indictment.
• Read Saturday’s Daily Journal for more details.