The Justice Department announced that Ulysses Oliver Jr., 47, a former Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Sergeant, was sentenced in federal court to this morning to 30 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Oliver previously pleaded guilty to assaulting two inmates at ADOC’s Elmore Correctional Facility.
According to court documents, on Feb. 16, 2019, Oliver went to an observation room holding the two inmate victims, who were handcuffed and sitting quietly. Oliver pulled the first victim from the observation room into an adjacent hallway, where he struck the victim multiple times with his fists and feet, and then used his collapsible baton to strike the victim approximately 19 times. After assaulting the first victim, Oliver returned to the observation room and pulled the second victim into the hallway. Oliver kicked the second victim and used his baton to strike the victim approximately 10 times. During the assaults, the victims were handcuffed behind their backs, did not resist and posed no threat. Afterward, Oliver returned to the observation room where the victims were being held and shoved the tip of his baton into the face of one of the victims, lacerating the victim’s face. Oliver assaulted the victims as punishment because he believed that the victims had brought contraband into the facility. Oliver assaulted the victims 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,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Brown for the FBI’s Mobile Field Office. “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,” said Chief Law Enforcement Officer Arnaldo Mercado of the Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division. “Excessive use-of-force is not acceptable under any circumstances, and preventing these incidents is a high priority for the department. 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 for the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney David Reese of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.