LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former Louisville Metro police officer has been sentenced in federal court to two years in prison for striking a kneeling protester in the back of the head with a riot stick during protests over the death of Breonna Taylor, authorities said.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings handed down the sentence Tuesday for Cory P. Evans, 34, who will also have two years of supervised release, a statement from the Justice Department said.

What You Need To Know

  • Former LMPD officer Cory Evans was sentenced to two years in prison for striking a kneeling protester in the back of the head

  • Evans will also have two years of supervised release

  • The officer pleaded guilty last year to excessive use of force in the incident

  • The protester he struck was kneeling with their hands in the air when Evans hit them with a riot stick

Evans pleaded guilty last year to using unreasonable force on a detainee. Evans struck the protester, who was identified as “M.C.,” while the person was kneeling with hands in the air, according to the Department of Justice.

Cory Evans. (LMPD)

The incident occurred during the early nights of protests in Louisville on May 31, 2020, a few days after Taylor’s boyfriend’s 911 call was released. Evans was downtown that night on curfew duty.

The Department of Justice said Evans admitted in court to striking the protester. The victim suffered a head gash and fell forward after they were struck, the release said. Evans resigned from the force in June.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot to death in her apartment by officers serving a narcotics warrant. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, told investigators he thought an intruder was breaking in and fired his gun. No drugs were found.

“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,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. “The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable officers who violate their oath and the Constitution.”

Evans was hired as a police recruit with LMPD on Sept. 22, 2014, and was promoted to a police officer on March 12, 2015.