Louisiana Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Covering up Assault on an Inmate
Jason Giroir, 35, a former correctional officer with the Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) in Angola, La., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge James J. Brady for the Middle District of Louisiana for his role in covering up an incident in which correctional officers used excessive force against an inmate. Giroir admitted filing a false report and subsequently providing false information to the FBI about the incident. Investigation of the incident is ongoing.
According to the factual basis filed in connection with his guilty plea, on or about Jan. 24, 2010, Giroir, then a major at LSP, heard that an inmate had escaped from his assigned location. Shortly thereafter, the inmate surrendered to prison officials. Giroir, one of the first officers to arrive at the surrender site, handcuffed the inmate and placed him on the back of his truck. Kevin L. Groom Sr., and two other LSP officers accompanied the handcuffed inmate in the rear of Giroir’s truck. During the transport, Giroir saw one of the officers repeatedly swing his asp baton down towards the inmate, and realized that the inmate was being beaten.
Some time after this incident, one of the officers who was in the back of the truck approached Giroir to talk about the incident. That officer admitted to Giroir that he had struck the inmate, but denied having used an asp baton.
Giroir also admitted that during the prison’s investigation of this incident, he wrote and submitted a false report denying that officers assaulted the inmate, and that he provided that same false information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Giroir pleaded guilty to falsification of records in a federal investigation and to making a false statement to the FBI. As a result of his guilty plea, Giroir faces a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years.
“Instead of lawfully carrying out his critical public safety responsibilities, Mr. Giroir covered up the violent actions of other officers,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Roy Austin. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who cross the line and engage in criminal misconduct.”
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. stated, “our public protection mission in law enforcement necessitates the protection of inmates from physical abuse by those who are charged with guarding them. We will prosecute vigorously those law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect the public and undermine this mission by fabricating and covering up crimes they witness.”
" Mr. Giroir's guilty plea clearly confirms that the FBI pursues all aspects of excessive force incidents, including any attempted obstructions of the investigation of the underlying unlawful use of physical force by others," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson.
In a related case before Judge Brady, former LSP Officer Kevin Groom entered a guilty plea.
The investigation in this matter was conducted by Special Agent Taneka Harris of the FBI and prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney AeJean (Angie) Cha and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana Robert W. Piedrahita.