Former supervisory corrections officer Mark Bryant was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for repeatedly tasing a restrained pretrial detainee inside the Cheatham County Jail, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Nashville announced.
In January 2020, a jury in the Middle District of Tennessee convicted Bryant of two counts for using excessive force while acting under color of law.
“The extraordinary abuse of power displayed by Bryant was both disturbing and disappointing to the many fine men and women in law enforcement who strive every day to carry out their duties with honor and professionalism,” said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran in a press release. “We can never be complacent in our responsibility to protect every citizen from such abuse.”
Evidence presented at trial established that on Nov. 5, 2016, Bryant repeatedly tased an 18-year-old detainee who was restrained and surrounded by officers inside the jail. Bryant tased the detainee four times for a total of 50 seconds while the detainee was strapped into a restraint chair. Bryant returned two hours later and tased the detainee again, this time while the detainee was handcuffed, shackled, and compliant.
As a result of Bryant’s unjustified uses of force, the detainee suffered bodily injury, including burns that an officer on the scene described as making the detainee’s skin look like “raw hamburger meat.” As the senior officer at the scene, Bryant then directed his colleagues not to submit reports regarding his uses of force on the detainee.
“The defendant abused his power as a supervisory corrections officer by assaulting a restrained person in his custody. Officers who willfully use excessive force both violate the Constitution and erode the public trust in law enforcement,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreibund of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI.