A former captain at the Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe was sentenced last week for his role in a conspiracy to violate the civil rights of five inmates.

Roderick Douglas, 38, of Monroe, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with five other corrections officers to violate the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

“Correctional officers deserve our respect for the jobs they do, but we must also hold them accountable when they willfully break the law and cover up the abuse of inmates,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph. “The defendant in this case ignored his role as a caretaker for prisoners and violated the rights of those he was sworn to protect. My office is committed to upholding the laws of our land and the rights of all.”

According to the defendant’s plea agreement and admission in court, Douglas and other officers sprayed a chemical agent directly in the faces and eyes of five inmates while the inmates were handcuffed, compliant, kneeling on the floor, and not posing a physical threat to anyone.

Following that abuse, the officers conspired to hide their conduct by submitting false reports.

Douglas was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana.

“This blatant abuse of power will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates the commitment of the Civil Rights Division to vigorously prosecute those who inflict cruel and unusual punishment against inmates under their care.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Louisiana, and Trial Attorney Anita Channapati of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section, prosecuted the case. The Monroe Division of the FBI investigated the case.

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