Four Former Georgia Correctional Officers Sentenced for Offenses Related to Assaults of Inmates and Ensuing Cover-Up
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced that Darren Douglass-Griffin, Kerry Bolden, Emmett McKenzie and Kadarius Thomas—four former members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Macon State Prison (MSP) in Oglethorpe, Georgia—were sentenced today for federal offenses related to the beating of MSP inmates in 2010 and the cover-up that followed.
U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell sentenced Douglass-Griffin to serve 12 months in prison for conspiracy against rights and for writing a false report. Bolden was sentenced to serve nine months in prison for conspiracy against rights and conspiracy to obstruct justice. McKenzie received a sentence of six months in prison for conspiracy against rights. Thomas was sentenced to serve six months in prison for writing a false report regarding the beating of an inmate.
In June 2014, a federal jury trial in United States v. Hinton, et al., resulted in the conviction of former CERT Sergeant Christopher Hall and senior CERT officers Ronald Lach and Delton Rushin. Evidence introduced at trial and in court documents filed in connection with the guilty pleas of Douglass-Griffin, Bolden, McKenzie and Thomas showed that CERT officers conspired to assault handcuffed inmates as punishment for past misconduct. CERT officers beat multiple inmates, two of whom suffered serious injuries. One inmate, Terrance Dean, suffered a traumatic brain injury during an assault by CERT officers. Evidence also showed that CERT officers conspired to cover up their unlawful practice, and that officers turned in false reports and provided misleading statements to investigators.
On Dec. 4, 2014, U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell sentenced the defendants who were convicted at trial to the following terms of incarceration: Lach, 90 months; Hall, 72 months; and Rushin, 60 months.
Former CERT member Willie Redden is the last defendant to be sentenced in connection with these cases. A sentencing date has not yet been set for Redden.
“Eight former corrections officials from Macon State Prison now have been sentenced for criminal conduct that ranged from beating inmates to obstructing our investigation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute corrections officers who betray the public trust, assault people in their custody, and otherwise use their power to violate federal law.”
“While our corrections officials have a difficult yet important job, we must insist that they follow the law and not use the authority that comes with a prison guard’s uniform to assault the very people they are charged with supervising,” said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia. “In this case, it wasn’t just inmates who were victims, it was also the public who had entrusted these officials with maintaining order while respecting and following the law.”
These cases were investigated by the Macon Resident Agency of the FBI, with the support of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The cases were prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Tona Boyd for the Civil Rights Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Macon.