Georgia prison guard pleads guilty to violating inmate's civil rights

A Georgia prison guard has pleaded guilty to violating a prisoner’s civil rights by punching him while he was handcuffed and on the ground.

Prosecutors said 33-year-old Jamal Scott and other guards led the man to an outdoor area to assault him on Dec. 29, 2018, in retaliation for an earlier dispute with a female guard at Valdosta State Prison in south Georgia.

"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. "The Justice Department will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals, and work to ensure that officers who abuse their power are held accountable."

In a release, the U.S. Department of Justice said Scott faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, but a sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

"Damaging repercussions are felt across our community and beyond whenever a sworn officer violates the civil rights of a person in their charge," Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said.

Scott and Correctional Officer Brian Ford were following instructions from their supervisor, Sgt. Patrick Sharpe, prosecutors said.

Ford pleaded guilty in November to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. Scott and Sharpe were indicted in December.

Sharpe has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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