Former Ala. COs found not guilty of assaulting inmates

The COs were acquitted of felony charges of aggravated assault

By CorrectionsOne Staff

NORRISTOWN, Ala. — Five former corrections officers were acquitted after being accused of assaulting two inmates at a county jail.

According to The Mercury, a jury found the officers not guilty of felony charges of aggravated assault in connection with two interactions they had with inmates on Feb. 14, 2017.

“The families are pleased. We are pleased and it was the right verdict,” defense lawyer Nino Tinari said, reacting to the verdict. “These jurors worked hard, they saw the evidence and knew that these guys were not guilty, and never were guilty of anything.”

The jury also acquitted the former officers of hindering apprehension or prosecution in connection with allegations that they attempted to cover up the assault afterwards.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on another charge of official oppression for all the officers. Prosecutors could still retry the men for that charge but they haven’t made a decision.

Defense lawyers characterized the officers as dedicated to their jobs and as men of good character, but prosecutors were “extremely disappointed” in the outcome.

“We respect the jury’s effort but I don’t think their verdict constitutes justice in any manner in this case,” First Assistant District Attorney Edward F. McCaan Jr said. “I think our case was strong and I’m pretty shocked by it, to be honest with you.” 

Prosecutors stand by the evidence they presented to the jury during the nine-day trial.

The investigation began after an assistant warden was informed by a corrections officer that they used physical force on an inmate. That required submission of incident reports as well as obtaining jailhouse video surveillance footage. After an internal review found that some officers may have used excessive force on two inmates, may have lied about their involvement and took steps to destroy or minimize surveillance footage, detectives were notified and an investigation was launched.

It’s unclear if the officers could be reinstated to their former positions at the jail.

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