An Alabama prison guard was sentenced to two-and-a-half years of prison after being found guilty of assaulting inmates while they were handcuffed. Before his sentencing, Sergeant Ulysses Oliver Jr. worked at the Alabama Department of Corrections Elmore Correctional Facility. He was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release.
“According to court documents, on Feb. 16, 2019, Oliver went to an observation room holding the two inmate victims, who were handcuffed and sitting quietly. Oliver pulled the first victim from the observation room into an adjacent hallway, where he struck the victim multiple times with his fists and feet, and then used his collapsible baton to strike the victim approximately nineteen times. After assaulting the first victim, Oliver returned to the observation room and pulled the second victim into the hallway. Oliver kicked the second victim and used his baton to strike the victim approximately ten times. During the assaults, the victims were handcuffed behind their backs, did not resist, and posed no threat. Afterward, Oliver returned to the observation room where the victims were being held and shoved the tip of his baton into the face of one of the victims, lacerating the victim’s face. Oliver assaulted the victims as punishment because he believed that the victims had brought contraband into the facility. Oliver assaulted the victims in the presence of, or within earshot of, other ADOC correctional officers, who did not intervene to prevent the assaults.” (Justice Department announcement)
Former ADOC correctional lieutenant, Willie Burks, who was the shift commander during the incident was convicted by a federal jury on July 21, 2021 for failing to intervene to stop Oliver from assaulting the second inmate.
Former ADOC correctional officers Bryanna Mosley and Leon Williams pleaded guilty in May and July 2019 to failing to intervene to stop the assaults.
“Oliver assaulted the victims in the presence of, or within earshot of, other correctional officers, who did not intervene to prevent the assaults,” according to the Justice Department’s announcement.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said, “The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment, which includes malicious uses of force by correctional officers. The Department of Justice will hold to account officers who brutalize incarcerated persons.”
U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart for the Middle District of Alabama. “Oliver knew that the use of force in this case was unnecessary and excessive, and so did the other officers involved. While I fully support the difficult and dangerous jobs that these officers undertake each day, my office remains committed to holding those that ignore their oaths accountable.”
Madeleine List from the Charlotte Observer found a notice letter from the Alabama Department of Corrections that alleges excessive use of force by prison staff against inmates. “The department’s investigation identified frequent use of excessive force in 12 of the 13 Alabama prisons it reviewed. In the final months of 2019, two prisoners at two different facilities died following uses of force, according to the investigation”.
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