From [HERE] Three white Louisville Metro Corrections officers are accused in federal court of beating a handcuffed Black male prisoner and covering up the assault.
David Schwartz, 48, and Donna Gentry, 55, were indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Louisville. Another white officer, Devan Edwards, was also charged in connection with the assault.
The indictment charges three felony offenses against Schwartz and one felony offense against Gentry. Schwartz is charged with depriving the inmate of his right to be free from excessive force (resulting in bodily injury), and with filing two false reports, one of which wrongfully accused the inmate of assaulting on an officer. Gentry is charged with obstructing justice by filing a false use of force report, and by directing a subordinate officer to file a false use of force report.
The maximum penalties for the charged crimes are 10 years of imprisonment for the deprivation-of-rights offense and 20 years of imprisonment for each of the false report and obstruction offenses. [MORE]
Schwartz and Edwards are accused of striking a handcuffed, noncombative Terry Whitehead in April 2018.
Schwartz is also charged with filing two false reports. One accused 19-year-old Whitehead of assaulting him and the other neglected to mention he assaulted the handcuffed inmate.
Edwards is accused of punching Whitehead twice in the face while he was seated, handcuffed and not resisting, according to court papers. Prosecutors further allege he failed to stop Schwartz from assaulting the man.
Gentry, who was a supervisor at the time, is charged with obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors say Gentry lied in an incident report, claiming Whitehead came at officers and spat on and struck Schwartz when they entered his cell. She also didn’t mention both Schwartz and Edwards assaulted the inmate.
She also lied about giving Whitehead a warning before using pepper spray on him, prosecutors allege.
She’s further accused of making Edwards lie in his report.
Video of the incident, provided to the Courier Journal by Whitehead’s attorney Sam Aguiar, shows Schwartz punching Whitehead in the face as his hands are cuffed behind his back.
The attorney said Wednesday he hopes the indictments will serve as a deterrent for any corrections or law enforcement officers who would attack someone in their charge.
Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton fired Schwartz and Edwards, who were both probationary officers at the time, after viewing the footage about a week after the incident.
“What I saw on that video is disturbing and is not reflective of what we expect from our staff,” Bolton said at the time.
In Schwartz’s termination letter, Bolton wrote the former Marine didn’t have the temperament for the job and said there was property damage from his “fit of rage.”
Edwards’ firing letter noted he failed to report the incident and also cited earlier “unprofessional actions” on social media as reasons for the firing.
Both were hired as recruits in September 2017.
Gentry retired from the department in September 2018 following a demotion from sergeant to officer that stemmed from an unrelated policy violation.
Whitehead is suing Schwartz, Edwards and Gentry in federal court over the assault, claiming excessive force, assault and battery.
He claims in the suit he was pepper sprayed and badly beaten.
The suit is pending. All defendants have denied wrongdoing [MORE]
Christopher Perras of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory are prosecuting the case.