A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today charging a former Tennessee supervisory corrections officer with federal civil rights and obstruction offenses. The defendant is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law for using unlawful force on an inmate; one count for being deliberately indifferent to the inmate’s medical needs; and one count of obstructing justice.
The indictment alleges that, on Aug. 30, 2019, Kenan Lister, 42, assaulted an inmate in a holding cell at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility in Hartsville, Tennessee. At the time, Lister was on duty as the prison’s security threat group coordinator. The indictment alleges that, while the inmate was sitting in a holding cell and not resisting, Lister punched the inmate in the head, knocking him to the ground, and then kicked, punched and struck the inmate multiple times in his head, chest and torso after he was on the ground. The inmate sustained bodily injury as a result of the assault. Despite Lister’s knowledge that the inmate needed medical attention, Lister failed to provide medical care or to make the necessary notifications to get the inmate medical care. Lister then obstructed justice by submitting a false report that omitted his use of force entirely.
If convicted, Lister faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the civil rights charges and up to 20 years in prison for the obstruction charge, as well as a maximum of 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 and Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee made the announcement.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Beth Myers of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer of the Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.