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Valdosta correctional officer pleads guilty to civil rights offense for assaulting inmate

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 17:10:01-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — A Valdosta correctional officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the civil rights of an inmate, according to a Department of Justice release.

According to documents filed in connection with the guilty plea, Jamal Scott, 33, an on-duty correctional officer at the Valdosta State Prison in Valdosta, struck an inmate with his fist multiple times while the inmate was handcuffed and lying on the ground on Dec. 29, 2018.

Specifically, Scott, along with Correctional Officer Brian Ford, Sergeant Patrick Sharpe, and other prison officials, escorted the handcuffed inmate to an outdoor area on the grounds of the prison for the purpose of assaulting the inmate in retaliation for an earlier altercation between the inmate and a female officer, according to the DOJ.

Scott and Ford, carrying out a directive from their supervisor, Sharpe, took the inmate to the ground and struck him multiple times in the body, investigators said. The inmate was handcuffed and compliant at the time of the assault.

Ford previously pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2020, to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, for his role in this incident. Scott and co-defendant Sharpe were indicted in a four-count indictment on Dec. 11, 2020.

“When Scott assaulted this inmate, he violated the inmate’s civil rights and betrayed his oath of office as a correctional officer,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam S. Karlan of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Scott faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled at this time, the DOJ said.