From The Tribune staff reports
WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging a former Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) lieutenant with use of excessive force and two obstruction offenses.
According to the indictment, Lieutenant Mohammad Shahid Jenkins used excessive force on two inmates – V.R. and D.H. – at ADOC’s Donaldson Correctional Facility. The indictment further charges Jenkins with two obstruction offenses related to his alleged excessive force on one of the inmates.
Specifically, count one of the indictment alleges that on Feb. 16, 2022, Jenkins willfully deprived inmate V.R. of his right to be free from excessive force by kicking him, hitting him, spraying him with chemical spray, striking him with a can of chemical spray and striking him with a shoe.
Count two of the indictment alleges that on Nov. 29, 2021, Jenkins willfully deprived inmate D.H. of his right to be free from excessive force by spraying him with chemical spray multiple times, striking him with a can of chemical spray and hitting him. Counts one and two further allege that inmates V.R. and D.H. each suffered bodily injury as a result of Jenkins’s actions, and that Jenkins used dangerous weapons — chemical spray and the chemical spray can — in both assaults.
Count three alleges that, following the Feb. 16, 2022, assault, Jenkins knowingly falsified an ADOC incident report about the event. Finally, count four alleges that, when ADOC and FBI agents later interviewed Jenkins about his use of force on V.R., Jenkins engaged in misleading conduct toward the agents.
If convicted, Jenkins faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each excessive force charge and 20 years in prison on each obstruction charge. He also faces up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama and Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. of the FBI Birmingham Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Birmingham Field Office investigated the case with the assistance of ADOC’s Law Enforcement Services Division.
Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin for the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorneys Anna Gotfryd and David Reese of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.