After pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of an inmate in his custody, a former Kentucky jailer was recently sentenced to four years in federal prison. Although the deputy never physically assaulted the inmate, he and another prisoner conspired to attack the inmate.
In 2015, Joshua Reece was booked at the Shelby County Detention Center in Shelbyville, Kentucky, when jailer William Carey recognized him. Carey reportedly believed Reece had previously dated and abused Carey’s wife.
Carey later approached an inmate named Corey Lynn Hopper and asked him to “take care of” Reece. That night as Reece slept, Hopper and several other inmates repeatedly punched and kicked him, knocking out a few teeth and leaving him with severe facial fractures.
In March 2019, Carey pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of an inmate in his custody. In January 2020, Hopper pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a person acting under color of law in willfully depriving an inmate of his right to be free from unreasonable force.
“The duty of correctional officers is to uphold the law and protect the people within their care,” stated Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “These actions are not only illegal and morally wrong, they go against the oath this officer took when he entered the job.”
“Excessive and unreasonable force perpetrated by, or directed by, a member of law enforcement is disgraceful and criminal,” said Robert Duncan Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, in a recent statement. “It undermines what our system of justice stands for and it damages the integrity of law enforcement. We have a distinct responsibility to combat it with all the tools available to us. Everyone is entitled to be free of this despicable conduct.”
On July 15, Hopper was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release. On Monday, Carey was sentenced to four years in federal prison for his role in the assault.