Ala. shift commander convicted for failing to intervene in inmate abuse case

The officer now faces up to 10 years in prison


Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A one-time shift commander who supervised officers at an Alabama prison was convicted of letting another worker abuse a prisoner, prosecutors said Friday.

Willie Burks, 42, was the fourth officer convicted on federal charges in the abuse, which occurred at the Department of Corrections’ Elmore prison. Three other former officers pleaded guilty previously.

Prisoners stand in a crowded lunch line at Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Ala.
Prisoners stand in a crowded lunch line at Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for November for Burks, who faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He was convicted after a three-day trial.

A statement from prosecutors said Burks watched as Sgt. Ulysses Oliver threw down an inmate and then kicked, punched and beat him with a baton.

“That’s fair,” Burks said at the end of the abuse, according to prosecutors. Oliver turned himself in but Burks ordered him to write in a report that Burks had told him to stop in a coverup, the said.

Oliver pleaded guilty in the assault, which occurred in February 2019, and two other officers pleaded guilty to failing to intervene.

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