Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Civil Rights: Former Louisiana State Correction Official Pleads Guilty To Beating Of An Inmate

U.S. Department of Justice 
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON—Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Walt Green for the Middle District of Louisiana announced today that a third former state corrections official has pleaded guilty to civil rights violations related to the beating of an inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.

Mark Sharp, 33, of Amite, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

Sharp’s charges were based on his conduct while employed as a captain at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. According to the factual basis filed in court in connection with his guilty plea, on Jan. 24, 2010, Sharp joined in a search to apprehend an inmate who had escaped from his assigned location. After the inmate was captured, Sharp and two other officers—Kevin Groom and C.B.—were ordered to escort the inmate, who was handcuffed behind his back, to the prison’s medical unit. The three officers got into the bed of a truck with the inmate. Sharp admitted that, during the drive to the medical unit, he repeatedly struck the inmate with a police baton. Sharp also saw C.B. kick the inmate in his head and shoulder area. Sharp then lied to the FBI during the federal civil rights investigation of the beating.

Two other former state corrections officials have been charged and convicted in connection with the attack on the inmate. Kevin Groom and Jason Giroir have both been charged and pleaded guilty to falsifying records in a federal investigation and making false statements to the FBI. Groom and Giroir await sentencing.

Sharp faces a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine up to $500,000 and up to three years of supervised release following his prison term.

This matter is being handled by the the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney AeJean (Angie) Cha of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Piedrahita for the Middle District of Louisiana.