Accused of striking a kneeling protester in the head with a riot stick, a former Kentucky police officer recently pleaded guilty in federal court to use of excessive force.
On May 31, Louisville Metro Police Officer Cory Evans approached a protester who surrendered by kneeling on the ground and placing his empty hands in the air near the intersection of Brook and Broadway. Instead of taking the protester into custody, Officer Evans struck him in the head with a riot stick for no justifiable reason.
After the victim fell to the ground with a head wound, he was taken into custody by other officers at the scene. The victim had been protesting with others against the death of Breonna Taylor who was killed by Louisville police officers.
In June, Evans was charged with violating the victim’s civil rights. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to using unreasonable force against a detainee.
“One of our most cherished fundamental rights in the United States is the right to peacefully protest against the government,” stated Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a press release. “An officer’s use of excessive force to interfere with the right to protest is particularly damaging to our democracy, and the Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”
“I commend the FBI and LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit for their outstanding work in this case,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky. “The effort put forth by the assigned agents, detectives, and prosecutors was crucial to the successful prosecution of the case.”
“While the vast majority of law enforcement officers are hardworking professionals who work conscientiously to protect the public, Cory Evans was simply not one of those officers,” noted Acting Special Agent in Charge Edward Gray of the FBI’s Louisville Field Office. “Every citizen has the right to expect law enforcement officers to act in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold.”
Evans is currently scheduled to be sentenced on November 23. He faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.