The Justice Department announced that Jeremy Walker, a former corrections officer cadet with the Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to a civil rights violation for assaulting a handcuffed man.
As a part of his plea, Walker admitted that on July 3, 2014, while he was on duty as a corrections officer trainee at the Elmore Correctional Facility, Walker argued with, and then pushed, an inmate. Walker and the inmate went to the ground and other corrections officers intervened. The inmate was handcuffed and placed in a holding cell. Walker’s brother, who was also a corrections officer, attempted to enter the holding cell, but other officers restrained him. Walker admitted that, while the other officers were focused on keeping his brother from entering the holding cell, Walker ran into the cell and punched the handcuffed inmate in the head several times. Walker then threw the victim to the floor. Other officers entered the cell and restrained Walker. Walker acknowledged that his assault caused injury to the victim.
“The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute corrections officers who abuse their power to break the law and violate the constitutional rights of others,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Actions such as the defendant’s threaten the public’s confidence in our criminal justice system, and we will not allow such conduct to stand.”
“The vast majority of law enforcement and corrections officers are dedicated to protecting and serving the public with honor,” said Acting U.S. Attorney A. Clark Morris for the Middle District of Alabama. “They walk a tough line every day they are on duty. However, when they cross the line and assault an individual that poses no threat, they will be held accountable for their actions.”
Walker will be sentenced in federal court at a date to be determined. He faces a statutory maximum of up to 10 years in prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Mobile Field Office with the cooperation of the Alabama Department of Corrections. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rand Neeley for the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Gabriel Davis of the Civil Rights Division.