Angola official faces 25 years for lying about inmate beating

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Kevin Groom Sr.,  former major at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, pleaded guilty in a Baton Rouge federal court that he falsified records to obstruct a federal investigation of an inmate beating by other officers.

Groom Sr. pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge that he made a false statement to FBI agents investigating the beating.

The names of the other officers involved were not in the report.

According to the report, Groom witnessed the beating in January 2010 of an inmate identified only as "R.M."

The report states "R.M." escaped from his assigned location and was running towards the golf course located on prison grounds. While Groom was heading to the golf course, the inmate surrendered to prison officials. When Groom arrived, he saw the inmate in the back up a pick-up truck and in the custody of two officers. Three high-ranking prison officials were also standing by the truck's bed. The report says one of the high ranking officials grabbed the inmate's head and slammed it into the truck. At the time, the inmate was handcuffed behind his back and compliant.

Almost immediately after the head slam, the two officers who had custody of the inmate began beating him with an asp baton while the high-ranking officers passively watched. One high-ranking officer ordered Groom into the back of the truck and for them to take the inmate to the medical unit.

According to the report, the beating continued during the drive to the medical unit and Groom did not attempt to stop the officers. Throughout the beating, the inmate was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach.

Once at the medical unit, the inmate told prison officials that he had been beaten during the drive and an internal investigation was launched.

During the investigation, the report states that Groom wrote and submitted a false report saying that no one assaulted the inmate on the back of the truck. More than one year later, the FBI investigated the inmate's report and found Groom purposely lied about the beating.

On Thursday, December 13, 2012, Groom pleaded guilty.

As a result of the guilty pleas, Groom faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

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