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Inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola, participate in a class called Malachi Dads, Tuesday, October 25, 2016, a prison parenting class to help men become positive influences in their children's lives while they are incarcerated and after they're released. (Photo by Ted Jackson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) ORG XMIT: NOLA2015061614435814

A former Angola guard has been sentenced to almost 10 years in prison for brutally beating a handcuffed and shackled inmate in 2014 — leaving him with extensive injuries including a dislocated shoulder and collapsed lung — and then conspiring to cover up the assault. 

Daniel Davis, 43, was convicted in two separate trials, the most recent this past January. In announcing the sentence, officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana referred to Davis as "the ringleader of the beating and cover up" but noted he didn't act alone.

Three of his former colleagues have also been convicted of lesser offenses after accepting plea deals: Scotty Kennedy, 52, John Sanders, 34, and James Savoy Jr., 42, who were all captains at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Davis was a major.

Sanders has admitted he punched the inmate repeatedly in the head in retaliation for an earlier incident. Savoy admitted failing to intervene when he witnessed other guards using excessive force against the inmate. Kennedy pleaded guilty to depriving the prisoner of the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and to conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Sanders and Savoy were sentenced to 18 months in prison and 24 months, respectively. Kennedy, whom officials described as "the least culpable officer," was sentenced to 14 months probation and will be required to give presentations to correctional officers about "the consequences of using excessive force and falsifying reports," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.

Evidence at Davis' final trial established that he initiated the inmate assault by yanking on the man's leg chains, causing him to fall face first onto a concrete breezeway, officials said. That's when Davis and other officers punched, kicked and stomped on the fallen inmate, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder, localized internal bleeding known as a hematoma, a collapsed lung and broken ribs.

Davis later ordered his subordinates to help him cover up what had happened.

Since he and Sanders had prior excessive force complaints filed against them, the group decided to falsely report that Kennedy was the only one who had used force against the inmate in this instance, prosecutors have said. The officers hoped internal affairs investigators would view allegations against Kennedy with less scrutiny.

The injured inmate also sued Davis, Kennedy, Sanders and Savoy after the assault, and the case was settled in 2016. All four officers were terminated after an internal affairs investigation.

Brandon Fremin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, said the sentences handed down last week are an example of corrections officers being held accountable for violating the public trust.

"Corrections officers are sworn to protect those within our prison systems," he said. "Those officers who carry out vicious attacks such as this strip citizens of their basic civil rights and dishonor the work of honest law enforcement officers."


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.