Today, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced that Kerry Bolden, a former employee of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Macon State Prison (MSP) in Oglethorpe, Ga., pleaded guilty to civil rights and conspiracy charges. Bolden is the fifth former MSP officer to enter a guilty plea in connection with the ongoing federal investigation into a series of staff assaults of MSP inmates.
According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, Bolden admitted that he and other CERT members escorted inmates to the gym, where CERT members would beat the inmates in retaliation for the inmates’ prior assault of a MSP officer. Bolden recognized that the inmates had been injured by CERT’s unjustified use of force, and he also knew, based on past experience, that CERT members would submit false reports to cover up their abuse of inmates. Bolden admitted that he personally submitted a false report, which omitted any reference to the unjustified force used on, or injuries inflicted upon, an inmate, who ultimately had to be transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. MSP supervisors told Bolden to stick to his false report when interviewed by investigators regarding the assault of the inmate.
“ The majority of corrections officers serve their communities with honor and integrity,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “When officers abuse those entrusted to their care and then use their official position to cover it up, we will continue to investigate, prosecute, and hold them accountable.”
Bolden, who is 47, and from Vienna, Ga., faces a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
“Today’s guilty plea is another example of the zero tolerance the Department of Justice has for correctional officers who use their position to try to cover up official misconduct,” said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Forrest Christian and Tona Boyd of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia and the support of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.