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Former Alabama corrections officer indicted in beating of two inmates

Eddie Burkhalter

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A former Alabama corrections officer has been indicted on charges that he failed to stop an officer under his command from beating two inmates at the Elmore Correctional Facility. 

Willie Burks, 39, is charged with making a false statement to a federal grand jury and with failing to stop another officer from “kicking and striking with a baton a handcuffed and complaint inmate,” according to a press release Wednesday from the office of U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin Sr. 

Three other officers have already pleaded guilty in connection with the beatings. Former corrections officer Ulysses Oliver pleaded guilty to unlawfully assaulting two handcuffed inmates. 

Briana Mosley and Leon Williams pleaded guilty for failing to stop Oliver, according to court records. 

According to Oliver’s plea agreement, on Feb. 16 Oliver watched surveillance footage of what another officer said may be two inmates picking up a package of contraband outside of the visitation area’s fence line. After watching the video Oliver “became enraged” and went into a room where both inmates were sitting quietly and with their hands handcuffed behind their backs, according to court records. 

Oliver pulled one inmate from the room, shoved him to the wall then knocked the inmate to the floor. Oliver then hit the inmate approximately 19 times with his baton on his “legs, head, arms, back and body.” Throughout the assault the inmate was not resisting, according to court records. 

Oliver then took the other inmate into the hallway and hit than man three times with his baton in the head, back and leg. After the inmate fell to the floor Oliver hit him seven more times with his baton and kicked him. That inmate also didn’t resist, according to court records. 

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Once back inside the room Oliver shoved the tip of his baton into the face of one of the inmates, cutting him underneath his eye. 

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“Oliver assaulted the victims as punishment because he believed that the victims had brought

contraband into the facility,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice press release. “Oliver assaulted the victims in the presence of other ALDOC correctional officers, who did not intervene to prevent the assaults.”

According to Oliver’s plea agreement the former officer lied in his written reports in an attempt to downplay the severity of the beating. 

Williams, in his written statement after the beating, said that he told Oliver to stop, but he had not done so, according to Williams’ plea agreement

Eddie Burkhalter: [email protected]  On Twitter @BurkhalterEddie

 

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