TROUSDALE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A former state corrections officer was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to assaulting an inmate in a holding cell at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility in Hartsville.
After serving his time in prison, Kenan Lister will have two years of supervised release, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. In April 2022, Lister pleaded guilty to two civil rights offenses related to the Aug. 30, 2019, assault.
The charges included one count of deprivation of rights under color of law for using unlawful force on an inmate and one count of being deliberately indifferent to the same inmate’s medical needs.
“While on duty as a supervisory officer, the defendant brutally assaulted a man in a state corrections facility and then deliberately ignored his obvious medical needs resulting from the assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
At the time, Lister was on duty as the facility’s security threat group coordinator. While the inmate was sitting calmly in a holding cell, officials said Lister punched the inmate in the head, knocking him to the ground.
He then kicked, punched and struck the inmate multiple times in the head, chest and torso after he was on the ground and not resisting, the DOJ reported. The assault reportedly fractured the inmate’s ribs and punctured his leg.
Despite seeing that the inmate had serious medical needs, authorities said Lister left the inmate locked in the holding cell and failed to obtain any medical care for the man. He later filed a report that omitted any mention of his assault.
“When correctional officers abuse their authority and harm inmates, it not only violates our civil rights laws, it undermines the criminal justice system as a whole,” 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.”