A second former prison guard has pleaded guilty to covering up an incident in which he and other officers used a chemical spray on five kneeling, handcuffed inmates at a privately run Louisiana prison. Three other ex-guards are scheduled for federal trial April 15.
David Parker, 27, pleaded guilty Jan. 17 in federal court in Monroe to conspiracy to falsify documents to cover up the incident at the Richwood Correctional Center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport said in a news release Tuesday. Former Sgt. Demario Shaffer pleaded guilty in November to the same charge.
As they did with Shaffer, prosecutors agreed to drop three other charges against Parker, including a charge of violating the inmates’ right against cruel and unusual punishment by spraying their eyes and faces with the chemical.
The guards did it, according to both the indictment and guilty plea, “while the inmates were handcuffed, compliant, kneeling on the floor, not posing a physical threat to anyone, and not evading or struggling with any officer.”
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The five were indicted in March, about five months after inmates sued the jail, the warden and several officers.
Former Capt. Roderick Douglas and former Lt. Christopher Loring, both of Monroe, and former guard Quintail Credit, of Winnsboro, remain scheduled for trial.
The captain sprayed a chemical agent directly into one inmate’s face and eyes and then passed the can to the other officers so they could spray the remaining inmates, according to a statement filed with Parker’s plea. Parker and the others did so, according to his statement.
Shaffer’s sentencing is scheduled May 1 and Parker’s May 15 before Judge Terry A. Doughty. Each could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Richwood Correctional Center is a 1,100-inmate, medium-security prison operated by LaSalle Corrections in the Ouachita Parish town of Richwood, near Monroe.
Inmates Adley T. Campbell, Jimmy Klobas, Jareth Vinet, Sidney Stephens and Darin Whittington sued LaSalle, Warden Ray Hansen, and others for damages in October 2017. According to the lawsuit, they were strip-searched and questioned about tattoos, allowed to put their clothes back on, and later were lined up on their knees and sprayed with “mace” while their hands were cuffed behind their backs.
That case is still pending before Doughty. No trial date has been set.
In October, the inmates were given four additional months to serve notice of the lawsuit on Douglas and on an insurance company.