T.I. Video Fallout Continues As Control Of Jail Is Wrested From Sheriff

Judge appoints custodian to take control of Fulton County Jail.

The fallout from rapper T.I.’s use of a Georgia jail as a setting for a promotional video has resulted in the wresting of control of the facility away from the Fulton County Sheriff.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob said Wednesday that he will appoint a custodian to take control of the Fulton County Jail.
 
Last month, an inmate escaped a maximum-security wing of the jail when rapper T.I. used a cell, inmates and guards as props and extras in a promotional video he shot to precede his performance for radio station Hot 107.9 in Atlanta (see “T.I. Starts ‘Filet Mignon’ Beef With Lil’ Flip At Birthday Bash” ).

Sheriff Jackie Barrett claimed she had not authorized the making of the video and she later fired a jail supervisor and suspended three other officers over the incident. An internal investigation concluded that there was no formal connection between the video shoot and the escapee, who was picked up just hours later.

However, T.I.’s video episode was the breaking point for the sheriff, who has long been under fire for what some city officials described as gross mismanagement of the facility. Two weeks ago, according to local reports, the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a lawsuit alleging that jail conditions were so deplorable, they constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

According to a spokesperson for the jail, the judge’s move does not necessarily mean that the sheriff will be ousted from her position. She will serve out the rest of her term, due to expire at the end of the year, unless ordered otherwise.

The sheriff sent a letter to the judge on Tuesday indicating she would not object to her removal if it served the best interests of the facility and the community.

For a full-length feature on T.I., check out href="/bands/t/ti/news_feature_june_2004/">“The T.I. Trilogy.”