Four former corrections officers have been charged in the 2018 beating of an inmate in Alabama. A male prisoner was taken down by officers at the Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent, Ala., on Sept. 12, 2018, after running out of his cell. Jordan Thomas, Kevin Blaylock, and Sgt. Keith Finch then kicked and used batons to strike the inmate as he lay on the ground in the fetal position, according to charges from the Justice Department, per the New York Daily News. Thomas allegedly also punched the inmate in the head, reports the New York Times. He then falsified an officer statement that claimed there was no force after the inmate was on the ground, an indictment reads. Sgt. Orlanda Walker is alleged to have corroborated his account in an incident report.
Thomas, Blaylock, and Finch are charged with deprivation of rights under the color of law, which could mean up to 10 years in prison, per a release. Thomas and Walker are charged with obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Thomas resigned earlier this year, Finch was fired, Blaylock was suspended then repositioned, and Walker is on mandatory leave, per the Times. The charges come less than a week after a Justice Department report found routine use of excessive force in the state's prisons. "Ultimately, Alabama does not properly prevent and address unconstitutional uses of force in its prisons," the report reads, per the AP. Officials were given 49 days to address the issues, at which point Attorney General William Barr could sue. (Read more prisons stories.)