Recorded on police body cam video striking a kneeling protester in the head with a riot stick, a former Kentucky police officer was recently sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to use of excessive force.
During a protest against police brutality on May 31, 2020, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Special Response Team arrested several individuals for unlawful assembly and violations of curfew. As Marty Chester surrendered to law enforcement officers by dropping to his knees and placing his hands in the air, LMPD Officer Cory Evans struck him in the back of the head with a riot stick.
Chester suffered a gash on his head, required three staples, and lost his hearing for several months. He has also experienced anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder since the assault.
Chester was placed under arrest, but the charge against him was ultimately dismissed and expunged, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory.
Following the incident, Officer Evans gave a false statement to his supervisor by claiming that Chester injured his head on the concrete after Evans pulled him off a chain-link fence. Evans also failed to turn on his body camera, but the assault was recorded on a fellow officer’s body cam video that was shown during his trial.
In June 2021, Evans was charged with violating the victim’s civil rights. After resigning from the department, Evans pleaded guilty to use of unreasonable force against an arrestee in August 2021.
On Tuesday, Evans was sentenced to two years in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $1,962.85 to Chester.
“Former officer Evans abused his authority by violently retaliating against a surrendering arrestee who had been exercising his First Amendment rights during a demonstration in Louisville, during the racial justice demonstrations in the spring of 2020,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a press release.
“In order for the public to have full trust and confidence in the law enforcement officers who have sworn to protect them, those officers who choose to abuse their authority must be held accountable,” stated Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI’s Louisville Field Office on Tuesday. “Today’s sentencing reflects the FBI’s and the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to identify, investigate and prosecute law enforcement officials who break the law by violating a person’s Constitutional rights.”
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