The Justice Department announced on April 22 that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging former Alabama Department of Corrections Sergeant Lorenzo Mills with assaulting three men incarcerated at Draper Correctional Facility near Elmore, Alabama. Mr. Mills was also charged with obstruction of justice for submitting a false statement about the incident.
On October 25, 2020, the indictment alleges that Correctional Officer Xavier Carroll brought three incarcerated men to an area outside the Draper shift office where Sgt. Mills violently assaulted the men by beating them with a baton. At least one of the victims suffered broken bones. Federal prosecutors say the men were not given medical attention until two days later because prison staff failed to report the assault when it happened.
The three victims had recently entered the Department of Corrections and were being held at Draper pursuant to a 14-day Covid-19 quarantine protocol. Two had less than one year to serve.
When the assault was finally reported on October 27, the indictment alleges, Sgt. Mills submitted a false written statement in which he wrote that he had not used any force against the three victims.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Alabama in 2020 alleging that excessive force against incarcerated people by correctional officers, including beating with batons, is widespread in the Alabama prison system and often results in serious injuries and deaths. Federal prosecutors alleged that prison staff frequently minimize or omit descriptions of injuries in incident reports, which contributes to incarcerated people’s unreasonable risk of serious harm.
Mr. Mills is one of 11 correctional officers, including a lieutenant and three sergeants, who have been criminally charged with abusing incarcerated people at the Elmore/Staton/Draper correctional complex since 2017, when officer Jeremy Singleton beat Billy Smith to death outside the shift office at Elmore Correctional Facility. He was later charged with manslaughter.