MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee correctional officer pleaded guilty Thursday to beating a prison inmate in an attack allegedly involving other officers, federal prosecutors said.
Nathaniel Griffin, 29, entered his plea to the federal civil rights offense in a Memphis court, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release. Griffin faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing in November.
Prosecutors said Griffin and four other Tennessee Department of Correction officers entered an inmate’s cell at a mental health unit at a Tiptonville prison in February. Prosecutors said the inmate spit while seated on a bench, with his arms by his sides.
Griffin and the other guards covered a surveillance camera and repeatedly punched the inmate, prosecutors said. Griffin then spoke with a superior officer with the rank of a corporal who told the officers to come up with a false story that did not include punching the inmate.
Prosecutors identified the other guards, the corporal and the inmate by initials only.
It was not immediately clear if the other guards or the corporal have been charged. Prosecutors identified the guards as T.P., J.Y., C.M. and C.S. The corporal was identified as T.M.
The FBI and the Tennessee corrections department investigated the case.