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Press Release

Former Supervisory Corrections Officer Convicted of Unlawful Force for Repeatedly Tasing Restrained Detainee

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

After a four-day trial on civil rights and obstruction charges, a federal jury returned a verdict for Mark Bryant, formerly a Corporal at the Cheatham County Jail in Ashland City, Tennessee.  Bryant was convicted of two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, for repeatedly tasing a restrained pretrial detainee. The jury acquitted Bryant of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of lying to the FBI. 

“Correctional officers who use unlawful force and cause bodily injury to detainees will be held accountable for their illegal actions,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute matters that violate civil rights laws.”

“The defendant’s conduct in this case was detestable and offensive to every law enforcement officer who honors the badge,” said U.S. Attorney Cochran.  “I want to thank the trial team and our law enforcement partners at the FBI for their outstanding efforts to ensure that this individual was brought to justice.”

“Citizens have a constitutional right to ethical treatment by employees of federal, state, and local government," said M.A. Myers, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the FBI. "This conviction should be a reminder that wearing a badge does not make one above the law. The FBI will always work to bring to justice those who violate the civil rights of others."

Evidence presented at trial established that, on Nov. 5, 2016, then-Corporal Bryant repeatedly tased – for a total of 50 seconds – an eighteen-year-old pretrial detainee in a restraint chair, and then returned more than an hour later to again tase the detainee, while the detainee was compliant and fully restrained. As a result of Corporal Bryant’s unjustified uses of force, the detainee suffered bodily injury.

Sentencing will take place at a later date before U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw at which time Bryant will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each charge as well as three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.   

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, and the case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Beth Myers of the Middle District of Tennessee’s Nashville Office and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer.

Updated January 13, 2020

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 20-24