Louisville corrections officers indicted in inmate beating that sparked national outrage

Handcuffed and cornered, 19-year-old inmate Terry Whitehead can be heard calling out for his...
Handcuffed and cornered, 19-year-old inmate Terry Whitehead can be heard calling out for his mother.(Attorney Sam Aguiar)
Updated: May. 8, 2019 at 5:54 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two former Louisville Metro Department of Corrections officers could go to trial for their roles in an inmate’s beating that was caught on camera, causing outrage nationwide.

Donna Gentry and David Schwartz both face federal indictments for their alleged roles in the...
Donna Gentry and David Schwartz both face federal indictments for their alleged roles in the 2018 beating of a handcuffed LMDC inmate. (Photos: LMDC)

Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted former corrections officers David Schwartz and Donna Gentry for their role in the beating.

Body camera video from April 15, 2018, showed an inmate, 19-year-old Terry Whitehead, sitting on a bench with his hands behind his back in handcuffs.

Schwartz approached Whitehead and after exchanging words, punched the inmate in the head.

When the video surfaced, Schwartz was immediately fired, along with another corrections officer, Devan Edwards, who was wearing the body camera in the room.

For the first time the public is able to see body camera video of the moment when an inmate in handcuffs is punched in the head by a corrections officer.

Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Schwartz, saying he assaulted Whitehead and deprived him of his rights. It also found Schwartz lied about the assault and tried to cover up his actions.

Schwartz filed an arrest report against Whitehead about the incident, charging him with felony third-degree assault with a claim the inmate spit on the officers, but that charge was dropped when the video came to light.

LMDC leadership said another corrections officer brought the video to their attention. It was released to the public, first by WAVE 3 News, in December 2018.

In April 2019, about a year after the beating, WAVE 3 News Troubleshooter Natalia Martinez discovered another former corrections officer was involved in the attack on Whitehead -- Donna Gentry.

Jail officials said Gentry allowed Schwartz and Edwards to enter Whitehead’s cell against policy. That’s because they were still new employees on probation and did not have the training. Gentry had been suspended for similar reasons in 2009 and 2013.

The grand jury indicted Gentry, saying she filed a false incident report about the inmate’s beating that claiming Whitehead “came towards the officers and spit on Officer Schwartz.” On top of that, the grand jury said there is evidence that shows Gentry ordered Edwards to corroborate her false report.

The indictment also charges the attack on Whitehead was bigger than what was caught on video, alleging Schwartz punched the inmate several times before the recording began and that Gentry pepper-sprayed him.

In all, the grand jury indicted Schwartz on federal charges of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of false reporting. Gentry is indicted on one charge of obstruction of justice.

If convicted of all charges, Schwartz could spend up to 50 years in jail and face a fine of up to $750,000. Gentry could spend up to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $250,000 if convicted.

The two will face those charges in federal court, but no court dates have been scheduled at this time.

Gentry retired from LMDC in August, after she was demoted for sending untrained home incarceration officers to arrest a murder suspect. Her retirement form indicated “DO NOT REHIRE.”

Whitehead and his family have filed a federal lawsuit against Schwartz, Edwards, and Gentry.

Read the entire criminal indictment below:

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