A former Louisiana private prison guard has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for standing by while others used pepper spray on kneeling, handcuffed inmates, then participating in a cover-up.
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty sentenced former Lt. Christopher Loring on Wednesday in Monroe to 46 months in prison, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Mona Hardwick said in an email Thursday.
Loring was the last of four former guards to be sentenced after pleading guilty in the October 2016 incident at Richwood Correctional Center near Monroe. Charges were dropped against a fifth because he died before his sentencing date.
The former guards, a guard who wasn’t indicted, Warden Ray Hansen and the prison and its holding company still face a civil rights lawsuit filed in November 2017, about five months before the guards were indicted. The lawsuit alleges negligence, unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, intentionally causing emotional distress, conspiracy, racial bias conspiracy and other violations.
The longest sentence in the criminal case was five years for former Capt. Roderick Douglas, who admitted spraying pepper spray into the eyes of two inmates, then passing the can to other guards.
Douglas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the inmates’ civil rights; the others pleaded guilty to conspiring to cover up wrongdoing. Demario Shaffer, 34, of Delhi was sentenced to 15 months in prison and David Parker, 28, of Tallulah, to 21 months. Quintail Credit was shot to death in February.
The most detailed account of what happened was in Douglas’ signed statement, which said the inmates were suspected of, but denied, gang activity. After long questioning, the officers took the inmates, whose hands were cuffed behind their backs, to an area without security cameras. There, they were made to kneel, facing the walls.
With a can of pepper spray in his hand, Douglas asked one man if he was a gang member, his statement said. The inmate again said no, and Douglas “sprayed the inmate directly in the eyes.”
Douglas did the same to a second inmate, then gave the spray to another guard, according to his statement.
“Co-defendants Demario Shaffer, Quintail Credit, and David Parker each took a turn spraying the remaining inmates in the eyes, while Christopher Loring and another officer, D.R., remained in the room,” the statement said.
The inmates were taken to have their eyes treated, and the guards had to fill out forms saying why they needed treatment for pepper spray. Each said the spray was used to control one inmate and also hit the other four, according to Douglas’ statement.