Atlanta, Georgia - Gregory McLeod, 44, of Atlanta, Georgia, a former correctional officer with the rank of lieutenant at the U. S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, pleaded guilty today to abusing an inmate by punching him in his face without any justification. McLeod also admitted that he intentionally obstructed a federal investigation into the matter by writing a false incident report.
“A correctional officer should never resort to violence or violate an inmate’s constitutional right to protection from unreasonable force, no matter the circumstance,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate any abuse of an individual’s civil rights under the law, or any effort to obstruct justice.”
“Working in a correctional facility is stressful and often dangerous work,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “However, McLeod made an unnecessary and unconstitutional assault on an inmate, and then filed a false report to cover it up. An abuse of the power by any law enforcement officer is unacceptable."
“No correctional officer is above the law,” said James F. Boyersmith, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Miami Field Office. “The DOJ OIG takes allegations of civil rights violations and false statements very seriously. We appreciate the diligent efforts of our fellow law enforcement partners that assisted us in investigating this matter.”
“This guilty plea of former U.S. Bureau of Prisons Lieutenant McLeod was triggered by key and credible allegations of inmate abuse by prison staff,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “While the FBI would like to remind the public that the vast majority of those working within our nation’s correctional facilities consistently conduct themselves admirably under often harsh conditions, the FBI does have a duty to investigate and present for prosecution those corrections officers or staff members who abuse their authority and positions.”
According to the charging and court documents, McLeod, who worked as a supervisor at the prison, strip-searched an inmate in the lieutenants’ office in front of three other correctional officers. McLeod admitted that after the inmate complained that the strip-search was taking too long, he punched the inmate in his face without justification. McLeod also admitted that after the assault, he wrote an incident report and a separate memorandum about the encounter in which McLeod falsely claimed that the inmate swung a closed fist at him and attempted to assault other officers before the inmate was restrained.
Sentencing for McLeod will be on February 20, 2018, before U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones.
This case was investigated by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray and Trial Attorney Mary J. Hahn of the Civil Rights Division.