Ex-prison guard pleads guilty to restraining, assaulting inmates

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A former Alabama Department of Corrections guard has pleaded guilty to assaulting two handcuffed inmates at a state prison.

Federal prosecutors said former Sgt. Ulysses Oliver Jr. entered the plea Tuesday.

Authorities say Oliver went to an observation room in the Elmore Correctional Facility where two inmates were sitting.

Oliver pulled the first victim from the room and struck him multiple times with his fists and feet, and then used his collapsible baton to strike the victim approximately 19 times.

He then returned to the observation room and pulled the second victim into the hallway. Oliver kicked him and struck him with his baton about 10 times.

Later, Oliver wrote a false report concerning the assaults. Oliver faces up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date hasn’t been set.

The Department of Justice issued the following release:

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced that former Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Sergeant Ulysses Oliver Jr., 44, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to assaulting two handcuffed inmates at ADOC’s Elmore Correctional Facility.   

According to the guilty plea, Oliver went to an observation room holding the two inmate victims, who were both handcuffed and sitting quietly. Oliver pulled the first victim from the observation room into an adjacent hallway, where he struck the victim multiple times with his fists and feet, and then used his collapsible baton to strike the victim approximately 19 times. After assaulting the first victim, Oliver returned to the observation room and pulled the second victim into the hallway. Oliver kicked the second victim and used his baton to strike the victim approximately 10 times. During the assaults, the victims were handcuffed, and were not resisting or posing a threat. After, Oliver returned to the observation room where the victims were held and shoved the tip of his baton into the face of one of the victims, lacerating the victim’s face.   

Later, Oliver wrote a false written report concerning the assaults, stating that he only struck the victims on their legs with his baton, when he actually struck the victims about their bodies, and also hit the victims with his hands and feet. Oliver’s report also falsely stated that he struck the victims until he was told by another officer to stop, when in truth the other officer had not ordered Oliver to stop.   

“Any abuse of power and use of violence by a correctional officer will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to enforce our nation’s laws and will prosecute those who break the public trust and violate the civil rights of individuals in their custody.”  

“Correctional officers have an incredibly difficult job,” stated U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. from the Middle District of Alabama.  “Although a vast majority of them serve with honor, valor, and bravery, cases like this make their jobs more challenging and dangerous.  When officers abandon their oath to protect and serve, and engage in conduct that is criminal, they too must be held accountable.  This office is committed to prosecute anyone who violates the law.” 

“Conduct like that of Mr. Oliver will not be tolerated and the Department of Corrections will work with all of its law enforcement partners to ensure that such behavior is thoroughly investigated and appropriately prosecuted,” said Alabama Commissioner of Corrections Jefferson S.  Dunn. 

Oliver faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.   

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Mobile Division and ADOC’s Investigations and Intelligence Division with the assistance from the Alabama Commissioner of Corrections. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Simpson of the Middle District of Alabama, and Special Legal Counsel Mark Blumberg, Special Litigation Counsel Jared Fishman, and Trial Attorney David Reese of the Civil Rights Division. 

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