Former ADOC officer sentenced for inmate assaults

Ulysses Oliver Jr. was sentenced after pleading guilty to assaulting two inmates at Elmore...
Ulysses Oliver Jr. was sentenced after pleading guilty to assaulting two inmates at Elmore Correctional Facility. The incident happened in February 2019.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - On Friday, the Justice Department announced that a former Alabama Department of Corrections sergeant was sentenced in federal court for an inmate assault case.

Ulysses Oliver Jr., 47, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The Justice Department stated that there is no parole in the federal system.

Oliver previously pleaded guilty to assaulting two inmates at Elmore Correctional Facility.

According to court documents, the incident happened on Feb. 16, 2019. Prosecutors say Oliver went to an observation room where the two inmates were handcuffed and sitting quietly. Oliver reportedly pulled the first victim into a hallway and struck the victim multiple times with his fists and feet, then struck the inmate with his collapsible baton approximately 19 times.

The Justice Department states that Oliver then returned to the observation room and pulled the second victim into the hallway, where he reportedly kicked this person and used his baton to strike the victim approximately 10 times.

The victims were handcuffed behind their backs during this, did not resist and posed no threat, according to the Justice Department.

Afterward, Oliver reportedly returned to the observation room where the victims were being held and shoved the tip of his baton into the face of one of them, lacerating the victim’s face.

Prosecutors say Oliver did this as punishment because he believed that the victims had brought contraband into the facility.

The assault happened in the presence of, or within earshot of, other ADOC correctional officers, who did not intervene to prevent the assaults.

Two other former corrections officers have pleaded guilty in connection with this incident, and a third was convicted at trial. Former ADOC correctional officers Bryanna Mosley and Leon Williams pleaded guilty in May and July 2019, respectively, to failing to intervene to stop the assaults. Another officer, former ADOC correctional lieutenant Willie Burks, who was the shift commander during the Feb. 16, 2019 incident, was convicted by a federal jury on July 21, 2021, of failing to intervene to stop Oliver from assaulting the second inmate.

“The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment, which includes malicious uses of force by correctional officers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will hold to account officers who brutalize incarcerated persons.”

“The actions of Mr. Oliver and his co-defendants run completely counter to the responsibilities and trust given to correctional officers,” said U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart for the Middle District of Alabama. “Oliver knew that the use of force in this case was unnecessary and excessive, and so did the other officers involved. While I fully support the difficult and dangerous jobs that these officers undertake each day, my office remains committed to holding those that ignore their oaths accountable.”

“Corrections officers are expected to safeguard the civil rights of prisoners,” stated Special Agent in Charge Paul Brown with the FBI’s Mobile Division. “These officers ignored their duties and must be held to account for their actions. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate violations of people’s civil rights.”

“The ADOC has zero tolerance for violence within its facilities, including excessive use-of-force by staff. Excessive use-of-force is not acceptable under any circumstances, and preventing these incidents is a high priority for the Department,” said Chief Law Enforcement Officer Arnaldo Mercado of the Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division. “When an allegation of excessive force is made, or an incident of such nature is reported or discovered, the Department conducts a thorough investigation. Employees who are found to have violated the highest standards of law enforcement, to which the ADOC is steadfastly committed, will be referred for prosecution and the LESD will support prosecution to the full extent of the law.”

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Mobile Division and ADOC’s Law Enforcement Services Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Counts of the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney David Reese of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

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