Devan Edwards, 22, a former correctional officer at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, one of three officers charged last week in connection with the beating of a handcuffed and compliant inmate, pleaded guilty today, announced Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman for the Western District of Kentucky, and FBI Louisville Special Agent in Charge James Robert Brown Jr.
In open court today, Edwards admitted that he and another officer removed an inmate from his cell, handcuffed him, and took him to a holding cell outside the view of surveillance cameras. In the holding cell, while the inmate was seated, handcuffed, and not resisting, the other officer grabbed the inmate by the neck with his right hand and began to strangle him. The inmate struggled to breathe. After the other officer released his grip on the inmate’s neck, the other officer and Edwards punched the inmate repeatedly in the head until a third officer intervened. After the incident, at his supervisor’s direction, Edwards wrote and filed a use-of-force report that exaggerated the inmate’s initial non-compliance and omitted any mention of the beating.
“Correctional officers who abuse their power and harm inmates violate our civil rights laws, said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “This type of abuse towards inmates will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice.”
“The rule of law is only upheld in our Commonwealth when all Kentuckians are held to the same standard regardless of position,” stated U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman.
“Today’s guilty plea should send a clear message that the FBI and the Department of Justice will not tolerate the abuse of power or victimization of citizens by anyone in law enforcement,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Brown Jr. “The Kentucky Public Corruption and Civil Rights Task Force was set up to insure the integrity of our criminal justice system for all citizens. The Task Force will vigorously investigate these kinds of cases, and those who violate the public’s trust will be held accountable.”
Edwards faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated jointly by the FBI’s Louisville Resident Agency Office and by the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Perras of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Gregory of the Western District of Kentucky.
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