Accused of severely beating an inmate with their batons and falsifying the incident report, four Alabama corrections officers were recently indicted on charges of deprivation of rights under color of law and obstruction of justice.
On September 12, 2018, Sergeant Keith Finch and corrections officers Jordan Thomas and Kevin Blaylock allegedly used excessive force to punish a prisoner who ran out of his cell in the Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent, Alabama. Two of the officers reportedly knocked the inmate to the ground, and the prisoner curled up in the fetal position as the officers surrounded him.
Although the inmate did not fight back, the officers repeatedly kicked him and struck him with metal batons according to the Justice Department. In their report of the incident, Officer Thomas and his supervisor, Sgt. Orlanda Walker, falsely claimed that “all force ceased” once the prisoner was on the ground.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted the four officers for viciously beating the inmate and writing a false report to cover up their actions. Finch, Thomas, and Blaylock were charged with deprivation of rights under color of law, while Thomas and Walker were charged with obstruction of justice.
In a recently released document titled “Investigation of Alabama’s State Prisons for Men,” the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division cited an incident at the Bibb Correctional Facility in which a prisoner suffered fractures to both arms after being struck with a baton. The Justice Department did not clarify whether the inmate from that report is the same inmate connected to the recent indictments or not.
If convicted, Finch, Thomas, and Blaylock face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the civil rights charges. Thomas and Walker face up to 20 years in prison for the obstruction charges. The officers also face a maximum of three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.