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Former Tennessee Corrections Officer gets 48 months for excessive force against inmate

FBI agent, source: FBIFBI agent, source: FBI
FBI agent, source: FBI

Javian Griffin, 38, a former tactical officer with the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC), was sentenced today to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release for using excessive force against an inmate and filing a fraudulent report to do so to cover up.

Griffin pleaded guilty to the offense on October 11, 2023.

His co-defendant, another former TDOC tactical officer, Sebron Hollands, pleaded guilty to writing a false report on October 2, 2023.

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“The defendant promised to protect and serve, but instead he abused his authority as a corrections officer by violently striking a man in the head and breaking his jaw,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division of the Ministry of Justice. “The defendant made matters worse by trying to cover his tracks with a false report. This sentence sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will hold accountable any officer in our jails and prisons who violates an inmate’s civil rights.”

“No correctional officer is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee. “The suspect assaulted a prisoner and then tried to cover it up. The agency’s National Security and Civil Rights Unit will continue to prioritize the prosecution of public officials who violate the civil rights of others.”

“When correctional officers abuse their authority, it not only violates our civil rights laws, it also undermines the criminal justice system,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas DePodesta of the FBI Memphis Field Office. “The FBI makes it a priority to bring to justice any law enforcement officer who violates the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect.”

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According to court documents filed in connection with the guilty plea, Griffin, without justification, struck an inmate in the head, breaking the inmate’s jaw.

The detainee did not resist and did not pose a threat, which justified the suspect’s use of force.

After the incident, Griffin wrote a false report to cover up the attack. Griffin’s co-defendant, Hollands, assisted in the cover-up by providing false information in his official use of force report to hinder the investigation into the incident.

The FBI Memphis Field Office investigated the case.

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