Joseph Hill Dumas

Background:
On May 5, 1962, Joseph Hill Dumas was fatally wounded by Constable Henry P. Sauls. The very moments prior to his death are unclear. Through the eyes of witnesses at the scene, the constable shot Dumas in the back without provocation. However, the constable would tell the tale of how he was forced to draw his weapon while dealing with an “aggressive boy.”

Legal Status:
On May 12, 1962, the state prosecutor presented witness to the Taylor County Grand Jury to indict Sauls for Dumas’ death. On May 17th the grand jury returned a No True Bill and Sauls was free. However, on June 19, 1962, Sauls would be indicted by a Tallahassee federal grand jury for a civil rights violation. Sauls was charged with willfully shooting and killing Dumas with the intent to deprive him life without due process of law. The trial was scheduled to begin on September 17, 1962. After one day of testimony, the jury found Sauls not guilty on September 18, 1962.