Justice Department Informs City of Lexington and Lexington Police Department That Automatically Jailing People for Unpaid Fines Violates Constitution
A federal grand jury in Charleston, West Virginia, returned an indictment today charging five former correctional officers — Mark Holdren, 39; Cory Snyder, 29; Johnathan Walters, 35; Jacob Boothe, 25; and Ashley Toney, 23 — in connection with an assault that resulted in the death of an inmate, identified by the initials Q.B., All five correctional officers, as well as a former lieutenant, Chad Lester, 33, were also charged for covering up of the use of unlawful force.
The indictment alleges that, on March 1, 2022, Holdren, Snyder and Walters conspired with other officers at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, to use unlawful force against Q.B. to retaliate for his earlier attempt to leave his assigned pod. The indictment further alleges that Holdren, Snyder and Walters struck and injured Q.B. while he was restrained and handcuffed, and that Boothe and Toney failed to intervene in the unlawful assault, resulting in Q.B.’s death.
The indictment alleges that all six defendants conspired to cover up the use of unlawful force by omitting material information and providing false and misleading information to investigators. The indictment also charges each defendant individually with engaging in misleading conduct toward another person to hinder, delay or prevent the communication of information of the possible commission of a federal offense. Further, the indictment alleges that Walters, Holdren, and Boothe submitted incident reports that contained false and misleading information, as well as omitted the fact that officers had assaulted Q.B. The indictment also charges Lester, Holdren, Snyder, Toney and Boothe with making false statements to the FBI about the circumstances surrounding Q.B.’s death.
The maximum penalties are life in prison for each of the civil rights offenses, five years in prison for each of the false statement offenses, and twenty years in prison for each of the remaining offenses.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney William S. Thompson for the Southern District of West Virginia and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office investigated the case.
Deputy Chief Christine M. Siscaretti and Trial Attorney Matthew Tannenbaum of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica Coleman for the Southern District of West Virginia are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.