Former Cheatham County Supervisory Corrections Officer Convicted of Using Unlawful Force
Defendant Repeatedly Tased Detainee in a Restraint Chair
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – January 13, 2020 - After a four-day trial on civil rights and obstruction charges, a federal jury on Friday evening returned a verdict for Mark Bryant, formerly a Corporal at the Cheatham County Jail in Ashland City, Tennessee. Bryant was convicted of two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for repeatedly using a Taser on a restrained pretrial detainee. The jury acquitted Bryant of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of lying to the FBI.
“The defendant’s conduct in this case was detestable and offensive to every law enforcement officer who honors the badge,” said U.S. Attorney Cochran. “I want to thank the trial team and our law enforcement partners at the FBI for their outstanding efforts to ensure that this individual was brought to justice.”
“Correctional officers who use unlawful force and cause bodily injury to detainees will be held accountable by the Civil Rights Division,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute matters that involve the violation of our civil rights laws.”
“Citizens have a constitutional right to ethical treatment by employees of federal, state, and local government," said M.A. Myers, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "This conviction should be a reminder that wearing a badge does not make one above the law. The FBI will always work to bring to justice those who violate the civil rights of others."
Evidence presented at trial established that, on Nov. 5, 2016, then-Corporal Bryant repeatedly tased – for a total of 50 seconds – an 18-year-old pretrial detainee in a restraint chair, and then returned more than an hour later to again tase the detainee, even though he was compliant and fully restrained. As a result of Bryant’s unjustified uses of force, the detainee suffered bodily injury.
Bryant will be sentenced later this year before U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each count and a fine of up to $250,000.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Beth Myers of the Middle District of Tennessee and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer.
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