Florida Department of Corrections Officer Charged With Conspiring to Commit Civil Rights Violations and Making False Statements
The Justice Department today announced that a federal grand jury in Miami indicted Florida Department of Corrections officer, Terrance Reynolds, 28, for conspiring with former sergeant Brendan Butler to physically assault and intimidate youthful offenders for conduct perceived by the officers as disruptive or disrespectful. The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Lester Fernandez, Inspector General - Florida Department of Correction (FDC).
According to the indictment, on March 27, 2017, Reynolds and Butler instructed three inmates to exit their housing unit and took them into a mop closet. Each of these inmates had been classified as youthful offenders requiring that they be separated from the general population for their own protection. Once inside the mop closet, it is alleged that Reynolds and Butler assaulted one of the inmates with a stick and their fists, causing him bodily injury, while the other two inmates stood nearby. The indictment states that the following day, Reynolds and Butler assaulted one of the other inmates to punish him for talking about the previous day’s assault and for being disrespectful. Both of these assaults caused bodily injury to the victims. Reynolds is also charged with making false statements to the FBI about his whereabouts on the dates of the assaults.
Inmates are classified as youthful offenders by a court or the Department of Corrections if they meet certain criteria and are 24 years old or younger.
Brendan Butler pleaded guilty on May 18 to conspiracy to commit civil rights violations. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison on Aug. 23. Reynolds faces five counts in the indictment with a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is being investigated by the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force and the FDC’s Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Senior of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division.