U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Tyson Hinckle, formerly an officer at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Md., to serve 30 months in prison for conspiring with other correctional officers to assault Kenneth Davis, an inmate. Hinckle and RCI officers from three different shifts assaulted Davis in March 2008, in retaliation for a prior incident in which Davis struck an officer.
Hinckle pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2014, to conspiring to violate Davis’ civil rights. According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, Hinckle acknowledged that, after he and other day shift officers conspired to assault Davis, they beat the inmate in order to punish him. Hinckle also admitted that this assault on March 9, 2008, was consistent with practices at RCI, where officers from three consecutive shifts would beat an inmate who had previously assaulted an officer. Finally, Hinckle admitted that he and other officers tried to cover up their involvement in the assault of Davis.
“Every person in America has the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to protect this right by prosecuting correctional officers who violate the rights of inmates.”
To date, 16 current or former officers at RCI have been convicted in connection with the series of assaults that inmate Davis suffered on March 8-9, 2008. Six former officers – Lanny Harris, Philip Mayo, Robert Harvey, Keith Morris, Dustin Norris and Ryan Lohr –have been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Bredar.
The case was investigated by the Frederick Resident Agency of the FBI and prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.