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Ackal Charged in Inmate Assault

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal Charged in Inmate Assault

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal and Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Savoy were charged today with civil rights violations. Charges stem from the April 29, 2011 beatings of five pre-trail detainees at the Iberia Parish Jail.

Ackal and Savoy are the most recent and highest-ranking members of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office to be linked to the inmate assault. The incident started as a contraband sweep of the jail. It resulted in the detainees being taken to the jail chapel, where there was no video surveillance, and beaten by the officers with fists and batons.

Inmate Assault in Chapel

Eight deputies from the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office have previously pleaded guilty to participating in the inmate assault. Or otherwise witnessing the incident and not intervening. The deputies then fabricated stories to cover up the beatings and prevent further investigation into their actions. Jason Comeaux, a deputy with the IPSO since 2008, stated in his confession that the assault of Anthony Daye (one of the five detainees) was at the behest of a ‘high ranking IPSO official’. Curtis Ozenne, one of the detainees, stated in an interview that it was Sheriff Ackal who directed the deputies to take him to the chapel. “He told the deputies and the warden to bring me to a secluded area and teach me a lesson,” Ozenne said “He’s the head. He’s the one the finger should be pointed at. He’s the orchestrator and dictator of what was going on at the jail.”

Sheriff Ackal, promised to bring reform and professionalism to the Sheriff’s office when he was running for office. He is being charged with one count of conspiracy against rights. Additionally, two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. Lieutenant Colonel Savoy is charged with one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. The Iberia Parish Sheriff and jail has been at the center of a lot of controversy. Lots of accusations have been leveled at law enforcement. There have been calls for the Sheriff to step down. Since Ackal took office in 2008, ten deaths have occurred while in police custody.

If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the civil rights violations.  As well as a potential $250,000 fine for each count.

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