Cody Richardson, 30, a former Correctional Officer with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office (RPSO), Detention Center 1, in Alexandria, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in court today to three counts of using excessive force against pretrial detainees housed at the facility.
According to documents filed in connection with the guilty plea, Richardson, while on duty as a correctional officer, tased three different detainees who were restrained and/or not resisting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242. Specifically, on Jan. 28, 2018, Richardson tased detainee K.F. while K.F. had his hands up, causing him to fall to the ground, then continued to tase K.F. three more times despite the fact that he was not resisting. On Feb. 24, 2018, Richardson drive-stunned detainee S.M. 15-20 times while S.M. was shackled to a bench by his ankles, then, after other officers secured S.M.’s wrists in handcuffs, continued tasing him and kicked him once in the abdomen. Finally, on March 19, 2018, Richardson deployed a Taser into detainee J.A.’s back, causing him to fall to the ground, then sat on top of a table in the cellblock and continued to activate the Taser four more times while J.A. thrashed on the floor, screaming in pain.
“This misconduct by a correctional officer erodes public trust,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute those who violate the civil rights of inmates.”
Richardson faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the three counts. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.
This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Mary Mudrick of the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorneys Katherine DeVar and Thomas Johnson of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.