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Former correctional lieutenant indicted on excessive force, obstruction charges

A former correctional lieutenant was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday with counts of use of excessive force and obstruction.

William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County. Google Earth

A former correctional lieutenant was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday with four counts of use of excessive force and two obstruction offenses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lieutenant Mohammad Shahid Jenkins is accused of using chemical spray against two separate incarcerated individuals, beating and kicking them both and causing “bodily injury as a result of Jenkins’s actions,” according to the Justice Department on Tuesday. Jenkins then allegedly falsified the incident report of the second assault, which occurred on Feb. 16, of last year.

The two incidents happened in 2021 and 2022, and in both cases, Jenkins allegedly struck both incarcerated individuals with the can of chemical spray, and in the second case from February, Jenkins allegedly struck the individual with his shoe.

When confronted in an interview by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Department of Corrections, Jenkins “engaged in misleading conduct toward the agents,” the statement added.

“If convicted, Jenkins faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each excessive force charge and 20 years in prison on each obstruction charge,” the Justice Department said in the statement on Tuesday. “He also faces up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.”

The case was investigated by the FBI Birmingham Field Office, with assistance from the Law Enforcement Services Division of the ADOC.

Violence from correctional officers within state prisons is not an uncommon occurrence, with the Justice Department’s own ongoing lawsuit against the ADOC alleging that critically overcrowded prison, coupled with understaffing, leads to a cycle of excessive force used by correctional officers.

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In September, the ADOC suspended a correctional officer at Elmore Correctional Facility after videos surfaced showing the guard beating an incarcerated man on the roof of the prison chapel.

That same officer was a witness in the 2017 investigation into the death of Billy Smith, an incarcerated man at the Elmore County facility, who died as a result of injuries he received from correctional staff and another incarcerated man.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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