A former officer of the Louisville Metro Police Department pleaded guilty today to using unreasonable force against an arrestee.
According to court documents, former officer Cory P. Evans, 33, of Sellersburg, Indiana, was arraigned and pleaded guilty to striking an individual in the back of the head with a riot stick while the individual was kneeling with his hands in the air, surrendering for arrest.
During the plea hearing in federal court, Evans admitted that on May 31, while he was working as a part of the Louisville Metro Police Department Special Response Team, he followed a group of individuals around downtown Louisville to execute arrests for unlawful assembly and violations of curfew. Around the intersection of Brook and Broadway, the victim surrendered for arrest by getting on his knees and placing his hands in the air. While the victim was kneeling in this position, the defendant struck the victim in the back of the head with a riot stick, which created a wound on the back of the victim’s head. The victim fell forward and was taken into custody by other officers.
“One of our most cherished fundamental rights in the United States is the right to peacefully protest against the government,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “An officer’s use of excessive force to interfere with the right to protest is particularly damaging to our democracy, and the Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”
“I commend the FBI and LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit for their outstanding work in this case,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky. “The effort put forth by the assigned agents, detectives, and prosecutors was crucial to the successful prosecution of the case. In addition, the work of those assigned to a case such as this fosters confidence in the system and promotes trust between our citizens and the officers who are sworn to protect them.”
“While the vast majority of law enforcement officers are hardworking professionals who work conscientiously to protect the public, Cory Evans was simply not one of those officers,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray of the FBI’s Louisville Field Office. “Every citizen has the right to expect law enforcement officers to act in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold. We entrust law enforcement officers with great power and authority, which we, as a community, expect them to wield with the utmost integrity. This case provides another example that abusing that power and authority will not be tolerated in Louisville.”
The crime Evans pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Evans is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 23.
The FBI and the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit jointly investigated the case through the Louisville Public Corruption Civil Rights Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda E. Gregory and Civil Rights Trial Attorney Timothy Visser are prosecuting the case.