A former correctional officer pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting a federal inmate housed at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Beaumont, Texas. In May, his supervisor pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the correctional officer in his assault on the inmate.
On June 8, 2017, Lieutenant Khristal Ford opened the door of a medical observation cell occupied by an inmate for being disrespectful and throwing a food tray. Lt. Ford then ordered Officer Tavoris Bottley to “take care of it.”
Bottley entered the cell and punched the inmate several times in the head without justification.
Following the assault, Ford submitted a written memorandum that omitted any reference to the punches and included a falsified breathalyzer photo sheet, all in an effort to conceal the incident and make it appear as if the inmate was highly intoxicated at the time of Bottley’s assault.
On May 1, Bottley was indicted on charges that he used unlawful force on an inmate and then submitted a false incident report. On May 29, Ford pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting another correctional officer in his assault on an inmate.
On Thursday, Bottley pleaded guilty to assaulting the federal inmate housed at FCC Beaumont. In his plea agreement, Bottley admitted that he punched the inmate even though the prisoner did not pose any threat at the time.
“This conduct by a federal correctional officer erodes public trust,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division in a recent statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute those who violate the civil rights of inmates.”
“Correctional officers have an obligation to be professional” stated U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown of the Eastern District of Texas. “Unprovoked violence not only violates the rights of the inmate, but hurts the reputations of law enforcement professionals who do things the right way.”
“When Bottley assaulted this inmate, he violated the inmate’s civil rights and he betrayed the oath of office he swore to uphold when he became a federal Corrections Officer,” asserted Robert A. Bourbon, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Dallas Field Office.
Bottley faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Ford also faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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