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Press Release


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

St. Croix, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that a federal jury convicted two former Virgin Islands Correctional Officers of depriving an inmate of his rights under color of law and obstruction of an FBI investigation. After an eight-day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts against Maxwell Bryan, 53, and Elvin Bloice, 72, both Correctional Officers at the John A. Bell Correctional Facility in St. Croix at the time of offenses. Bloice was also convicted of making materially false statements to the FBI.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all citizens, including inmates who must rely on correctional officers to protect them. This case warranted attention from the Department of Justice because of the Color of Law violations that makes it a crime for anyone to abuse their legal power or authority to deprive another of their rights”, United States Attorney Smith said.

According to the evidence presented at trial, on September 17, 2021, after refusing to return to his cell, Bryan cornered the inmate, lifted, and pushed him into his cell. Once in his cell, Bryan punched the inmate twice on his forehead and choked him. While the assault was underway, Bloice stood in front of the cell and partially closed the cell door to prevent the ongoing assault from being captured by the facility’s video cameras. Trial evidence further established that Bryan’s assault of the inmate was in retaliation to an incident that occurred on August 23, 2021, when the inmate kicked the door of Bryan’s vehicle. After the assault, both Bryan and Bloice knowingly submitted false incident reports denying any assault occurred. Thereafter, on October 4, 2021, Bloice again denied to the FBI that the assault ever occurred.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by United States Attorneys Evan Rikhye and Dan Huston. Deputy Chief Forrest Christian of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division provided invaluable assistance in the prosecution of this case.

Updated April 26, 2024

Civil Rights