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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Former Supervisory Deputy Jailer At Kentucky River Regional Jail Pleads Guilty To Assaulting An Inmate

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A former supervisory deputy jailer at an Eastern Kentucky detention center has entered a guilty plea to a federal charge related to his role in an unprovoked violent assault of a detainee.


Matthew B. Amburgey, 29, entered his guilty plea today, before U.S. District Chief Judge Karen K. Caldwell.  


In his plea, Amburgey admitted that, on October 10, 2011, he used excessive force against a pretrial detainee at the Kentucky River Regional Jail, after he witnessed another Supervisory Deputy Jailer, Damon Hickman, assault the inmate without justification during the booking process.  Hickman punched the inmate on the side of his head with such force that it broke his hand and caused the inmate’s ear to bleed.  Amburgey and other deputies then knocked the inmate to the ground and repeatedly kicked him.  Amburgey admitted that he kicked the inmate without justification.


The Kentucky River Regional Jail houses pre-trial detainees from Perry and Knott Counties.  As a supervisory deputy jailer, Amburgey was responsible for the custody, care, safety and control of the inmates at the jail.


Hickman pleaded guilty last year for his role in a separate assault at the same jail.  The victim of that assault died. 


Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; John M. Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; and Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, jointly made the announcement. 


The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins of the United States Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government. 


Sentencing for Amburgey is scheduled for April 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm.  He faces up to 12 months imprisonment.  The U.S. District Court will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes before imposing sentence.

Civil Rights
Updated January 24, 2018