VALDOSTA, Ga. (WRBL) — Four former deputy and supervisory correctional officers for Valdosta State Prison were sentenced for the beating of a handcuffed inmate, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for Middle District of Georgia.
Lieutenant Geary Staten, 31, and Sergeant Patrick Sharpe, 30, along with Deputy Correctional Officers Brian Ford, 25, and Jamal Scott, 35, were sentenced for their individual roles. Sharpe was sentenced on an additional incident involving a separate inmate assault.
Documents and sentencing statements show that on Dec. 29, 2018, Sgt. Sharpe told Ford and Scott to assault a handcuffed inmate in retaliation for a prior incident between a female officer and an inmate.
Sharpe, Ford, Scott and several other officers took the handcuffed inmate outside. Upon direction from Sharpe, Scott and Ford struck the handcuffed inmate after taking him to the ground.
Lt. Staten failed to write a report about the incident, telling the involved officers not to write one as well.
Sharpe’s prior incident happened on Sept. 24, 2018, when he assaulted a different handcuffed inmate in retaliation to a separate altercation. He punched this inmate with wrapped handcuffs three times, twice to the face and once to the back of the head.
This inmate was wounded and lost consciousness.
Sharpe faces 48 months in prison; Staten 14 months; Scott 12 months; and Ford 12 months.
A press release states Ford and Scott assisted during the investigation, contributing to their lesser sentence.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke says officers who violate civil rights will be held accountable.
“These officers’ efforts to organize, execute, and then cover up a retaliatory assault on a handcuffed, compliant inmate are an egregious abuse of power,” said Clarke. “These sentences make clear that no one is above the law, and that when officers violate the civil rights of people under their supervision – through violence or obstruction – they will be held accountable.”
This case was investigated by the FBI.