Former Tennessee Department of Corrections Officers Plead Guilty in Inmate Assault Case

Former Tactical Officers Plead Guilty in Inmate Assault Case

Two former tactical officers of the Tennessee Department of Corrections Strike Force have pleaded guilty for their roles in the assault of an inmate and subsequent cover-up at the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, Tennessee.

Guilty Pleas and Charges

  • Javian Griffin, aged 38, of Nashville, entered his guilty plea recently. He admitted to using unlawful force on an inmate and providing false information in his official report regarding the incident.
  • His co-defendant, Sebron Hollands, aged 33, of Clarksville, had already pleaded guilty to providing false information in his official report related to the same incident.

Criminal Conduct and Accountability

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division emphasized the abuse of power by these defendants, stating that they victimized an inmate in state custody.

The Civil Rights Division remains committed to holding correctional officers accountable for their actions when they assault inmates and attempt to cover up their misconduct.

Public Employee Accountability

U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee underlined the importance of integrity and upholding the law among corrections officers.

Rather than fulfilling their duty to ensure inmates’ safety and rights, Griffin and Hollands misused their positions and concealed the harm they caused.

No correctional officer is exempt from the law, and public employees who violate civil rights will be prosecuted.

FBI’s Commitment to Civil Rights

Special Agent in Charge Douglas S. DePodesta of the FBI Memphis Field Office emphasized the FBI’s dedication to safeguarding the civil rights of all individuals.

He noted that correctional officers who abuse their authority and cause harm or attempt to cover up harm to inmates undermine the entire criminal justice system.

The FBI will vigorously investigate and bring to justice any officer who violates the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect.

Details of the Assault and Cover-Up

According to court documents, Griffin confessed that he had punched an inmate, identified as K.W., in the head without justification, resulting in a broken jaw.

Importantly, Griffin admitted that his use of force was unwarranted, as the inmate did not resist or pose a threat at the time of the assault.

Both Griffin and Hollands acknowledged providing false information in their official reports, obstructing the investigation into the incident.

Sentencing and Future Proceedings

In accordance with their plea agreement, it was jointly recommended that Griffin should serve a 48-month prison sentence.

Hollands could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for providing false information in his report. Sentencing is scheduled for Griffin on March 5, 2024, and Hollands on January 19, 2024.

The ultimate sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge, considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

FBI Memphis Field Office Investigation

The FBI Memphis Field Office led the investigation into this case.

Prosecution Team

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard represented the Western District of Tennessee, while Trial Attorneys Andrew Manns and Matthew Tannenbaum from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

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