LOUISIANA — A third former prison guard in Louisiana has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, saying he led other guards at a privately run facility in spritzing pepper spray into the eyes of kneeling, handcuffed inmates.
Roderick Douglas, who was a captain at the time, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of inmates at Richwood Correctional Center near Monroe, online federal court documents show.
Former Officer David Parker and former Sgt. Demario Shaffer pleaded guilty earlier to a cover-up conspiracy.
Former Lt. Christopher Loring and former Officer Quintail Credit are scheduled for trial April 15 before U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe. Both are charged with conspiracy. Credit is charged with violating the inmates’ rights by using the spray, and Loring with doing so by standing by while other guards sprayed the inmates.
Richwood Correctional Center is a 1,100-inmate, medium-security prison operated by LaSalle Corrections in the Ouachita Parish town of Richwood, near Monroe. Douglas’ signed statement, filed with his guilty plea, is the most detailed account so far of what happened there “on or about Oct. 30, 2016.”
It said the officers “rounded up five inmates whom they suspected of gang activity.” Lengthy questioning failed to get any to say he was a gang member. The officers took them to an area without security cameras and put them on their knees, facing the walls, with hands cuffed behind their backs.
With a can of pepper spray in his hand, Douglas asked one man if he was a gang member, his statement said. The inmate again said no, and Douglas “sprayed the inmate directly in the eyes.”
Douglas did the same to a second inmate, then gave the spray to another guard, according to his statement.
“Co-defendants Demario Shaffer, Quintail Credit, and David Parker each took a turn spraying the remaining inmates in the eyes, while Christopher Loring and another officer, D.R., remained in the room,” the statement said.
The injured inmates were taken to have their eyes treated, and all five defendants filed false reports about why they needed treatment.