Ex-Alabama correctional officer sentenced in assault of restrained inmate and cover-up

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A former correctional officer in Alabama was sentenced Tuesday to more than seven years in prison for using excessive force on an inmate and lying on a report in an attempt to cover it up, federal prosecutors said.

Mohammad Shahid Jenkins, 52, a former lieutenant and shift commander at the William E. Donaldson correctional facility in Bessemer, Alabama, “willfully deprived inmate V.R. of his right to be free from excessive force by kicking him, hitting him, spraying him with chemical spray, striking him with a can of chemical spray and striking him with a shoe while (he) was restrained inside a holding cell and not posing a threat,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

Jenkins pleaded guilty to the offenses on Sept. 12 and was sentenced to 87 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, the department said.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said Jenkins was “supposed to set an example of what proper law enforcement looks like for the less experienced officers he oversaw. Instead, the defendant abused his position of power to repeatedly and viciously assault a restrained inmate, returning to the inmate’s cell several times to renew the assault.”

The inmate involved in the incident died Feb. 25, 2022, nine days after the alleged assault but authorities have not yet labeled his death a homicide.