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Press Release

Kentucky Deputy Jailer Convicted by Jury of Assault of Inmate and Obstruction of Justice

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A supervisory deputy jailer at an Eastern Kentucky detention center has been convicted today by a jury of federal charges related to his role in an unprovoked violent assault of a detainee, announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Carlton Shier, IV for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Special Agent in Charge Amy Hess of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Louisville Division.

The jury convicted 32-year-old Kevin Asher of deprivation of civil rights under color of law, and obstruction of justice.  The jury rendered the verdicts after four hours of deliberation following two and half of days of trial.  

According to evidence and testimony, in November 2012, Asher and another deputy jailer, Damon Wayne Hickman, physically assaulted Gary Hill, a 55-year-old inmate who was being held following an arrest for a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.  

According to testimony, Deputies Asher and Hickman approached Hill after Hill had run the faucet in his jail cell to the point where water had spilled out onto the floor.  Hickman testified at trial that he punched Hill in the face, causing Hill to fall onto the floor.  Hickman further testified that while Hill was curled up in a fetal position, he and Asher began stomping and kicking Hill.  Asher and Hickman then immobilized Hill in a restraint chair and continued to beat him.  Evidence established that in the time following the assault, Hill received no medical attention for his wounds.  

The jury also found that Asher obstructed justice by filling out an incident report at the jail in which he falsely claimed that Hill had slipped and fallen onto the floor and that no physical force had been used against him.

The Kentucky River Regional Jail is a holding jail for pre-trial detainees.  As a supervisory deputy jailer, Asher is responsible for the custody, care, safety and control of the inmates at the jail.

Hickman pleaded guilty last year for his role in a separate assault at the same jail.  The  victim of that assault died.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins of the United States Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.  

Sentencing for Asher is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2017.  The penalty for assault under color of law carries a maximum penalty of assault is 10 years.  The Obstruction of Justice offense carries a maximum penalty is 20 years.   The U.S. District Court will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes before imposing sentence.

Updated April 12, 2017

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 17-395