VALDOSTA, Ga. — A former Georgia corrections officer who was also a supervisor at Valdosta State Prison plead guilty Wednesday for violating the civil rights of two inmates.
According to the Department of Justice, there were two separate incidents. During one of the incidents on Sept. 24, 2018, the DOJ said the 30-year-old corrections officer assaulted a handcuffed inmate after an interaction earlier in the day between the inmate and a female officer.
While escorting the inmate across prison grounds, the corrections officer wrapped a pair of handcuffs around his fist and punched the inmate three times, twice in the face and once in the back, the DOJ said. The inmate lost consciousness and had scratches on his face and head, according to the DOJ. The DOJ said the inmate was handcuffed and compliant when he was assaulted.
In another incident on Dec. 29, 2018, the corrections officer instructed several officers he supervised to assault a handcuffed inmate after an interaction between the inmate and a different female officer, the DOJ said. The officers escorted the handcuffed inmate to an outdoor area at the prison and hit him several times, according to the DOJ. The DOJ said the inmate was also compliant when he was assaulted.
According to the DOJ, both of the officers involved in this incident also plead guilty to federal crimes related to the second assault.
“The defendants committed two retaliatory, injurious, and unjustified assaults while acting as a corrections officer,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said. “The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that the civil rights of all individuals are protected and will vigorously prosecute individuals who betray their oath of office and violently abuse the power entrusted to them as officers of the law.”
The corrections officer faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count.