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Press Release

Former D.C. Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Civil Rights Violation for Assaulting a Handcuffed Inmate

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – A former District of Columbia Department of Corrections Officer, Marcus Bias, 27, pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. The plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the Washington Field Office, and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

            “Corrections officers, like any other member of law enforcement, are sworn to protect the people in their custody,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “Officer Bias violated this oath and the Constitution when he pushed the head of a handcuffed inmate in his care into a metal doorframe, causing substantial injuries to the inmate. Such abuses of power will not be tolerated and this Office, along with our federal partners, will investigate and charge any member of law enforcement who deprives a citizen of their civil rights.”

            “When corrections officers carry out acts of violence against those who are entrusted to their care, they will be held accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke. “The Justice Department will continue to prosecute those who abuse their authority, while standing up for the civil rights of the victims of these crimes.”

            “One of the FBI’s core missions is to protect the civil rights of every person within the United States,” said Assistant Director in Charge Sundberg. “Law enforcement officers are given authority and responsibility, but if they abuse that power, they will be held accountable for those actions. Today’s plea is an example of the FBI and our partners at the D.C. Department of Corrections working together to ensure that no one is above the law and that justice is served.”

            According to court documents, Bias pushed a handcuffed detainee’s head into a metal doorframe while escorting him within the Department of Corrections on June 12, 2019, resulting in injury to the detainee, J.W. Specifically, intentionally and without provocation, Bias, who was holding J.W., pushed J.W.’s head into the doorframe while J.W. was handcuffed behind his back, suffering from the effects of O.C. spray, surrounded by five other officers and compliant with transport. J.W. sustained significant injuries, which required outside emergency medical attention.

            A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28, 2024. Bias faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case.

            Trial Attorney Anna Gotfryd of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, Rebekah J. Bailey, formerly a Trial Attorney with the Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Truscott for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

Updated March 26, 2024

Civil Rights
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-271