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Lanny Harris, a former sergeant at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Md., and Philip Mayo, a former correctional officer at RCI, were sentenced today for conspiring with other RCI officers on March 8-9, 2008, to assault an inmate at the prison, identified as K.D.
Both Mayo and Harris previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to assault K.D. during the midnight shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.). Mayo and Harris cooperated with authorities during the federal investigation and testified for the prosecution at the trial of former RCI officer James Kalbflesh, who was convicted for his role in the assaults on K.D. and the subsequent coverup. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Harris and Mayo to each serve 30 months in prison.
During their testimony at Kalbflesh’s trial and in court documents filed in connection with their respective guilty pleas, Harris and Mayo each admitted that they met with other officers at RCI during the midnight shift and agreed to assault K.D. in retaliation for a prior incident involving K.D. and another officer. Harris, Mayo and two other correctional officers entered K.D.’s cell in order to assault the inmate, and the officers then went through with their plan and assaulted K.D.
“Every person in America has the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels. “To ensure that this right is protected, the Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute correctional officers who violate the rights of inmates.”
To date, 16 current or former officers at RCI have been convicted in connection with a series of assaults that K.D. suffered on March 8-9, 2008. There are 12 former RCI officers still awaiting sentencing before Judge Bredar, and two who were convicted in state court have already been sentenced.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Frederick Resident Agency and prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division, with the help of Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham for the District of Maryland.