WASHINGTON- The Department of Justice said that a Mississippi Corrections officer has pleaded guilty to beating an inmate at Mississippi’s Parchman prison.
Lawardrick Marsher pleaded guilty to using excessive force by punching and kicking an inmate that they’re calling K.H. The victim suffered a broken orbital bone (or the facial bone around you eye) and permanent vision loss, not to mention severe blood loss.
But he wasn’t alone in the act, Marsher’s supervisor helped him cover up the March 9, 2014 incident. So, Robert Sturdivant has been charged with trying to conceal the beating of an inmate, and pleaded guilty.
Marsher said he falsified his report to the FBI after the altercation. He also said he and Sturdivant urged other officers to create false statements to be submitted to their department and the FBI.
“Every American, including those who are incarcerated, is protected by the U.S. Constitution,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When officers who we expect to uphold those rights willfully violate them, and lie to cover it up, the Justice Department will vigorously enforce the laws prohibiting this misconduct.”
Marsher and Sturdivant were indicted by a grand jury on June 21, 2016. Two other officers, Deonte Pate, 23, and Romander Melson, 44, pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the beating. Pate told the FBI that he conspired to cover up the incident, and Nelson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to protect K.H.
Marsher could get the max of 10 years in prison, and Sturdivant faces five years. Their sentencing is tentatively scheduled for June 8 and 9th. Pate’s is scheduled for March 16, and Nelson’s for April 6.