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Press Release

Former D.C. Corrections Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Violation for Assaulting a Handcuffed Inmate

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

             WASHINGTON – Marcus Bias, 28, a former District Department of Corrections Officer, was sentenced today in federal court to 42 months in prison for seriously injuring a handcuffed detainee who was not resisting, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

             Bias pleaded guilty on March 29, 2024, to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Bias to serve two years of supervised release.

             “Like any other law enforcement officer, the defendant had a duty to protect the constitutional rights of anyone who was in his care and custody,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “The defendant ignored that responsibility, when he assaulted and seriously injured an inmate who posed no threat.  Such assaults are civil rights violations that will be prosecuted.”

             “This defendant is being held accountable for violently rammed an inmate’s head into a metal doorframe while the victim was handcuffed behind his back and posed no threat,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Clarke “The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute unlawful assaults on vulnerable populations and will stand up for the civil rights of the victims of these crimes.”

             “Today, Marcus Bias was sentenced for violently injuring an inmate and violating their civil rights,” said David J. Scott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division. “The FBI is charged with investigating those who violate a person’s civil rights, and it’s a responsibility the FBI takes very seriously. I would like to thank our partners who worked side-by-side with the FBI on this investigation in order to hold Marcus Bias accountable for his criminal actions.”

             According to court documents, Bias, intentionally and without provocation, pushed a detainee’s head into a metal doorframe while escorting him from DOC’s dining hall to the medical unit June 12, 2019, causing significant injuries. At the time, the detainee, J.W., had his hands handcuffed behind his back and was suffering from the effects of O.C. spray. J.W. also was surrounded by five other officers and was not resisting. J.W.’s injuries required emergency medical attention at a hospital. After slamming J.W.’s forehead into the corner of the metal doorframe, Bias falsely claimed in an official DOC report that J.W. “pull[ed] away” and “fell” into the doorframe. Bias’s statement was contradicted by DOC surveillance video. Disturbed by what they saw on the video and recognizing that that Bias used deadly force when no force was needed or permitted, DOC officials fired Bias and escorted him out of the facility.

             The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Truscott for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Anna Gotfryd and former Trial Attorney Rebekah Bailey of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.



Updated June 28, 2024

Civil Rights
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-541