FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

SEVEN TEXAS CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS INDICTED FOR ABUSE OF PRISON INMATES WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Seven correctional officers who allegedly beat prison inmates at an East Texas state penitentiary, were indicted today, the Justice Department announced. The twenty-three count indictment, returned today in Tyler, Texas, alleged that two supervisory officers, Captain Richard Roy, and former Sergeant David Kersh, and four correctional officers, Allen Cochran, Jeffrey Johnson, James Mayfield, and Thomas Wade violated federal civil rights laws by beating prison inmates, filing false reports against them, and preventing them from obtaining appropriate medical treatment. The indictment also charged Officer Jerry Leach with filing a false report and with perjury before the grand jury. The officers were all employed at the Michael Prison Unit, a maximum security facility located in Anderson, Texas. The indictment alleged that on nine occasions between September, 1993 and June, 1994, the officers beat inmates without provocation, often resulting in physical harm. Following the beatings, the officers allegedly filed false reports about the incidents which were presented in disciplinary hearings against the inmates. Also, prisoners who were beaten were returned to their cells instead of receiving needed medical treatment. The papers further alleged that the supervisory officers were aware of these violations and failed to stop them. "Correctional officers are given the authority to keep our nation's prisons safe and orderly," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. "We will not look the other way when officers abuse their authority by violating the rights of prisoners." Count one charges all of the officers except Leach with conspiring to violate the civil rights of the prisoners. Counts two, four, six, seven, nine, twelve, fifteen, eighteen, and twenty-one allege that the prisoners were assaulted by the defendants. Counts three, five, eight, seventeen, and twenty charge the defendants with knowingly submitting false evidence at disciplinary hearings for the prisoners. Counts ten, thirteen, sixteen, and nineteen charge that the supervisory correctional officers took no steps to prevent these assaults from occurring. Counts eleven, fourteen, and twenty-two charge the defendants with preventing the prisoners from receiving proper medical care. And, count twenty three charges Leach with perjury. "This case demonstrates our strong commitment to protecting the civil rights of all citizens," said Mike Bradford, U.S. Attorney in Tyler. "Even those individuals who are incarcerated in prison are protected from cruel or unusual punishment under

the law." Roy, who is charged with four counts, faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison and a $700,000 fine. Kersh, who is charged with nine counts, faces a maximum sentence of 54 years in prison and a $1,650,000 fine. Cochran, who is charged with nine counts, faces a maximum sentence of 63 years in prison and a $1,800,000 fine. Johnson, Mayfield, and Wade, all charged with five counts, face a maximum sentence of 32 years in prison and a $950,000 fine. Leach, who is charged with two counts, faces a maximum sentence of 6 years in prison and a $350,000 fine. # # # 95-427