A former Louisville Metro Police officer is facing a lengthy prison term after he admitted to striking a kneeling protester with his riot stick.
Cory Evans, 33, of Sellersburg, Indiana, has pleaded guilty to using unreasonable force following an incident during a protest on May 31, 2020, over the killing of Breonna Taylor. The 26-year-old Black woman was shot several times as she slept in her bed by Louisville Metro Police officers during a botched drugs raid on March 13 of that year.
Evans admitted that on May 31, he was working as a part of the Louisville Metro Police Department Special Response Team executing arrests for unlawful assembly and violations of curfew against demonstrators.
At the intersection of Brook and Broadway, one protester surrendered for arrest by getting on his knees and placing his hands in the air.
While the protester was still kneeling, Evans struck the victim in the back of the head with a riot stick. The force caused the victim to fall forward and left him with a wound on the back of his head.
In June, Evans was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly using unreasonable force.
Evans resigned from the Louisville Metro Police Department days after the charges were brought against him.
Following his guilty plea, Evans now faces a maximum of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. He is due to be sentenced on November 23.
“One of our most cherished fundamental rights in the United States is the right to peacefully protest against the government,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
“An officer’s use of excessive force to interfere with the right to protest is particularly damaging to our democracy, and the Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”
Acting Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray of the FBI‘s Louisville Field Office added: “Every citizen has the right to expect law enforcement officers to act in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold. We entrust law enforcement officers with great power and authority, which we, as a community, expect them to wield with the utmost integrity. This case provides another example that abusing that power and authority will not be tolerated in Louisville.”
The Louisville Metro Police Department has been contacted for comment.