Today, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced that Kadarius Thomas, a former member of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) and a former supervisor at Macon State Prison (MSP), in Oglethorpe, Ga., pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Thomas is the fourth former MSP officer to enter a guilty plea in connection with an ongoing federal investigation into staff assaults of inmates at the prison.
In connection with his plea, Thomas admitted that he and other CERT members escorted an inmate to the gym, where CERT members hit the handcuffed inmate in retaliation for his prior assault on an MSP supervisor. Thomas saw that the inmate had been injured by the unjustified use of force by CERT members. Thomas knew from past experience that the CERT members would not report the force used on the inmate. In keeping with directions from a supervisor, Thomas knowingly omitted from his report any reference to the unjustified force used on, or injuries inflicted upon, the inmate. Thomas submitted his false MSP witness statement even though he understood it was inaccurate, incomplete, and untruthful.
Thomas, 26, from Americus, Ga., faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
“Mr. Thomas, by his statements, attempted to conceal the CERT team’s practice of using force to punish an inmate they swore an oath to protect,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels. “Such actions have no place in our corrections system and the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute those who try to cover up such crimes.”
Michael J. Moore, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, stated: “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.”
This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Tona Boyd of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, 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.