A former correctional officer with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office has been sentenced to almost six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to using excessive force.
Cody Richardson, 31, was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison. He pleaded guilty almost a year ago to three felony counts of using excessive force against pretrial detainees housed at the correctional facility in Alexandria where he worked.
According to court documents and statements made during the hearing, Richardson, while on duty as a correctional officer in 2018, tased three different detainees who were restrained and/or not resisting. One man was tased in January 2018 when his hands were up; the man fell to the ground and Richardson tased him three more times, even though he wasn't resisting.
A month later, Richardson drive-stunned a detainee 15-20 while the man was shackled to a bench by his ankles. He then put handcuffs on the man's wrists, and continued to tase him. He also kicked the man in the gun.
A month after that, Richardson tased another man in his back. The man fell down, and Richardson sat on a table and tased him four more times, while the man thrashed and screamed in pain.
“Citizens who are detained by law enforcement officers have a right to be treated with fairness and respect,” said Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook. “Those in law enforcement who choose to violate the civil rights of those in their custody and control must suffer the consequences of their actions.”
“These kinds of civil rights violations by correctional officers will not be tolerated,” said Pamela S. Karlan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “By perpetrating these blatant and callous assaults on inmates, Richardson abused the authority granted to him as an officer of the law, undermined public trust in law enforcement, and caused harm to individuals whom he had a responsibility to protect. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who violate the civil rights of vulnerable inmates in their care, and ensure that such officers are held accountable.”
This case was investigated by the FBI.
Assistant United States Attorney Mary Mudrick of the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Katherine DeVar of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.