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