former corrections officers at the Richwood Correctional Center were
sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Monroe, Louisiana, for their
roles in a conspiracy to cover up the abuse of inmates by officers. The
defendants -- Demario Shaffer, 34, of Delhi, Louisiana, and David
Parker, 28, of Tallulah, Louisiana, previously pleaded guilty
to conspiring to falsify documents with the intent to obstruct and
influence the investigation of a matter within federal jurisdiction.
According to the defendants’ plea agreements and admissions in court,
Shaffer, Parker, and other officers sprayed a chemical agent directly in
the faces and eyes of five inmates while the inmates were handcuffed,
compliant, kneeling on the floor, and not posing a physical threat to
anyone. Following that abuse, the officers conspired to hide their
conduct by submitting false reports.
Shaffer, who was a sergeant at the time, was sentenced to serve 15
months in prison, and Parker, a nonsupervisory officer, was sentenced to
serve 21 months. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil
Rights Division and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana
David C. Joseph made the announcement.
“Conspiring to cover up physical assault against an inmate is in
blatant violation of federal law and the Department of Justice will hold
violators accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband
of the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue
to enforce the laws that prohibit this type of misconduct.”
“Abuse of prisoners is illegal and tarnishes the reputation of those
correctional officers who work hard every day to perform their duties
with distinction and professionalism,” U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph
stated. “To maintain the fairness and integrity of the American justice
system, my office will hold accountable anyone who violates the civil
rights of inmates or conspires to cover up the abuse of inmates under
Two other officers, Roderick Douglas and Christopher Loring have also pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty on June 5 and July 3.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of
the Western District of Louisiana, and Trial Attorney Anita Channapati
of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section, prosecuted the case. The
Monroe Division of the FBI investigated the case.