Former Alabama Corrections Lieutenant Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison

A former Alabama Department of Corrections lieutenant has been sentenced for failing to stop an officer under his command from assaulting an inmate.

The U.S. Justice Department says 41-year-old Willie M. Burks III has been sentenced in federal court to nine years in prison, with two years of supervised release to follow.

Burks was convicted last year of failing to stop an officer under his command from assaulting an inmate at the Elmore Correctional Facility, which is in Elmore County.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, evidence showed that on February 16, 2019, former corrections Sergeant Ulysses Oliver Jr.,  assaulted two handcuffed inmates, intending to punish them for bringing contraband into the prison. The evidence shows that Burks witnessed one of those beatings, but did nothing.

Oliver pleaded guilty to assaulting the two inmates, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Two officers also pleaded guilty  to failing to intervene.

“Those working inside our jails and prisons have a duty to intervene in the face of unlawful and violent conduct being carried out by their colleagues,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Under the Constitution, correctional officers may not physically assault inmates for violations of prison rules, and any officials who see this happening must do what they can to stop it.”


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