Former Richwood correctional supervisor pleads guilty to role in physical assault of inmates
MONROE, La. – The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Roderick Douglas, a former supervisor at the Richwood Correctional Center, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to violate the civil rights of five inmates.
Douglas, 38, of Monroe, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to conspiring with five other officers to violate the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division and Western District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph made the announcement.
“Correctional officers who abuse their power and inflict cruel and unusual punishment against the inmates under their care, violate the Constitution,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute unlawful misconduct by correctional officers to protect victims of these abuses and to ensure the integrity of our civil rights laws.”
“The men and women who work in our prison system have a difficult and dangerous job,” U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph stated. “However, we expect our correctional facility employees to be professional and respectful of others’ rights. Those who fail to do so will be held accountable.”
According to his guilty plea, Douglas worked as a Captain at the Richwood Correctional Center in Richwood, Louisiana, where on October 30, 2016, he and other officers conspired to inflict cruel and unusual punishment upon five inmates by spraying a chemical agent in their face and eyes while the inmates were handcuffed, compliant, kneeling on the floor, and not posing a physical threat to anyone. Douglas admitted that he and the other officers attempted to hide their conduct by submitting a false story in their official reports concerning the incident.
The count of conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a criminal fine of up to $250,000. Douglas is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2019 by U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana, who accepted the plea.
The case was investigated by the Monroe Division of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Louisiana, and Trial Attorney Anita Channapati of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section, U.S. Department of Justice, are prosecuting the case.