Former LMDC officer sentenced to federal prison after video showed him punching inmate
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A former officer with Louisville Metro Department of Corrections will spend two years in prison for punching a handcuffed inmate.
David Schwartz received that sentence in federal court Thursday after an emotional plea from his family for probation instead. The judge denied that request, stating that he was in a position of trust and authority over some of the most vulnerable citizens.
WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters first broke the story a year ago, exposing the body camera video showing Schwartz punching Terry Whitehead in the face even though Whitehead was in handcuffs. The judge pointed out that Whitehead was not a threat during the time of the punch.
Schwartz was fired immediately by Mark Bolton, the former director of the jail, after another officer came forward about the attack. Bolton, at the time, called Schwartz’s actions a “fit of rage.”
In court, Schwartz and his attorney argued for probation because he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome acquired during his deployments as a Marine. He also said he’d suffered greatly during an apartment fire where he had to jump from a third-story window, breaking his back.
The prosecution argued that having PTSD did not excuse his behavior or writing up a fake citation accusing Whitehead of being the aggressor two days later.
On top of the prison sentence, Schwartz will also serve two additional years of probation.
Thursday, Schwartz's co-defendant, and former supervisor, Donna Gentry, was also sentenced. She previously pleaded guilty to one count, also in relation to the report which tried to paint the inmate as the aggressor.
Gentry received three years of probation with a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. curfew for eight months of her sentence.
The ordeal is not over. A civil lawsuit will soon begin. It will also look at other factors, like why Schwartz, who suffered from PTSD and had a previous misdemeanor charge was hired in the first place.
Attorneys are also expected to examine why Gentry was never fired even though she had more than 30 disciplines and reprimands in her record and had been suspended a total of 12 times.
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