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Former Louisville police officer sentenced to two years in prison for using excessive force in May 2020 arrest

By Mirna Alsharif and Chris Hippensteel, CNN

A former Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officer was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday “for using excessive force on an arrestee” in May 2020, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Cory Evans, 34, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release following his prison sentence by US District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings, according to the statement.

His lawyer, Brian Butler, says Evans is a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and that it is “well documented” that he saved “at least four lives” during his time with the LMPD.

“His split-second reaction must be viewed in light of the fact that during the Louisville riots officers were shot at nightly,” he said in a statement to CNN.

“They had Molotov cocktails thrown at them. They were pummeled with rocks, bricks, bottles of urine and bottles of rancid milk. Cory will be forever disappointed that the Government that he served in combat rejected his request to have his case referred to Veteran’s Court and the Government sought a draconian sentence.”

On May 31, 2020, Evans was on duty as an LMPD officer during protests following the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. During an arrest for unlawful assembly and violations of curfew, one man surrendered by getting on his knees and placing his hands in the air. Evans then “struck the victim in the back of the head with a riot stick,” according to the statement. The victim, who suffered a head wound, then fell forward and was taken into custody by other officers.

“Former officer Evans abused his authority by violently retaliating against a surrendering arrestee who had been exercising his First Amendment rights during a demonstration in Louisville, during the racial justice demonstrations in the spring of 2020,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the statement.

Evans pleaded guilty to the incident in the summer of 2021, and was later terminated from the department.

The LMPD declined to comment on Evans’ sentencing.

The FBI and the LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit investigated the case, according to the DOJ statement.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Brian Rokus and Christina Carrega contributed to this report.

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