Department of Justice Seal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CRT

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2001

(202) 616-2777

WWW.USDOJ.GOV

TDD (202) 514-1888


THREE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION OFFICERS

PLEAD GUILTY TO TORTURING AND VIOLATING THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF INMATES


WASHINGTON D.C. The Justice Department today announced that three former correctional officers of the Arkansas Department of Correction, Cummins Unit in Grady, Arkansas pled guilty in the Eastern District of Arkansas to violating the civil rights of two inmates in 1998.

Charlie Wade, Jr., Percy Sergeant, Jr. and Loren D. Burrer pled guilty to participating in the assault of inmate George Proby on January 7, 1998. Wade also pled guilty to assaulting inmate Kiloe Page on the same date. According to the plea agreement Wade, Sergeant and Burrer assaulted the inmates after observing Kenneth C. Bell, a former supervisory lieutenant at the Cummins Unit, shock the handcuffed inmates in the buttocks, ribs, upper shoulder, and groin area with two separate high-voltage electrical devices. Bell used a hand held stun gun and a shock stick similar to an electrical cattle prod.

The defendants pled guilty to violating Title 18, United States Code Section 242 offenses (deprivation of rights under the color of law), which carries a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of $250,000.

"Today's guilty pleas send a strong message that prison guards who beat and torture inmates in their custody will be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "The inhumane conduct of these officers violated the trust bestowed to them by the public."

These pleas, follow a guilty plea entered into on October 5, 2001, by Kenneth C. Bell who admitted to shocking and torturing these inmates for no legitimate law enforcement purpose. The investigation was conducted by the Arkansas Department of Correction and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and attorneys from the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

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