A former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for hitting a kneeling protester in the back of the head with a riot baton during a 2020 demonstration over Breonna Taylor’s death, federal officials said.
Cory P. Evans, 34, had previously pleaded guilty to violating the Constitution and using unreasonable force on May 31, 2020, while working as part of the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Special Response Team.
Evans tried to arrest a group of people for unlawful assembly and violating curfew in the downtown area, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
At an intersection, a person in the group surrendered for arrest by getting on his knees and placing his hands in the air.
“While that person was kneeling in this position, Evans struck him in the back of the head with a riot stick, which created a wound on the back of the kneeling victim’s head. The victim fell forward and was taken into custody by other LMPD officers,” the Justice Department statement said.
“Former officer Evans abused his authority by violently retaliating against a surrendering arrestee who had been exercising his First Amendment rights during a demonstration in Louisville, during the racial justice demonstrations in the spring of 2020,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. “The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable officers who violate their oath and the Constitution.”
“The FBI and LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit did outstanding work in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky. “The effort of the assigned agents and detectives resulted in a successful prosecution and is a positive step toward strengthening trust and confidence between our citizens and the officers who protect them.”
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