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Former State Prison Guards in Georgia Sentenced for Prisoner Assaults and Cover-Up

by Jayson Hawkins

On September 28, 2022, four former guards at Georgia’s Valdosta State Prison were sentenced for beating a handcuffed prisoner and then attempting to conceal what happened. Sgt. Patrick Sharpe, 30, received four years for orchestrating the assault by ordering two subordinates, Jamal Scott, 35, and Brian Ford, 25, to take down and beat the prisoner, identified as F.G.

Because they agreed to plead guilty and cooperated with investigators, Scott and Ford each received sentences of a year and a day. Another co-worker, Lt. Geary Staten, 31, was given 14 months in prison for his part in the cover-up of the assault – namely his failure to inform his fellow guards as well as instructing them not to file any reports. All four were terminated by the state Department of Corrections after the incident.

“These officers’ efforts to organize, execute, and then cover up a retaliatory assault on a handcuffed, compliant inmate are an egregious abuse of power,” said Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for the federal Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

Court documents and testimony revealed that on December 29, 2018, Sharpe told Scott and Ford to escort F.G. outside and beat him while he was handcuffed, as payback for a previous altercation the prisoner had with an unnamed female guard. [See: PLN, June 2021, p.62.]

Investigators then discovered that a similar incident had unfolded earlier on September 24, 2018, when Sharpe punched a prisoner in the head three times with a pair of handcuffs wrapped around his fist, also in retaliation for an incident between that prisoner and another female guard. That prisoner was not named. Like F.G., he was restrained and acting in compliance when battered by guards. Sharpe’s sentence included time for this assault, as well.

Ford was first to plead guilty on November 9, 2020. See: USA v. Ford, USDC (M.D. Ga.), Case No. 7:20-cr-00049.

Scott then pleaded guilty on April 21, 2021, and Sharpe pleaded guilty on May 19, 2021. See: USA v. Sharpe, USDC (M.D. Ga.), Case No. 7:20-cr-00054.

Staten entered the last guilty plea of the group on June 22, 2022. See: USA v. Staten, USDC (M.D. Ga.), Case No. 7:21-cr-00054.

“These sentences make clear that no one is above the law, and that when officers violate the civil rights of people under their supervision – through violence or obstruction – they will be held accountable,” Clarke promised.

According to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Sharpe is held at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Oakdale, Louisiana, with release scheduled in February 2026. Staten is at FCI in Forrest City, Arkansas, pending release in October 2023. Ford is at FCI in Talladega, Alabama, pending release in August 2023. Scott is assigned to BOP’s Residential Re-Entry Management office in Atlanta, with release scheduled in July 2023.

Additional source: WSB

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