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Tribal Corrections Officer Admits Guilt

A corrections officer who worked at the Fort Peck Tribe’s detention center admitted last week to a civil rights violation for assaulting an inmate, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Devin Gray Hawk, 20, of Poplar, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with deprivation of rights. Gray Hawk faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court set sentencing for April 3, 2024. Gray Hawk was released pending further proceedings.

In court documents, the government alleged that on April 8, 2022, the Fort Peck Tribe’s Department of Law and Justice contacted the FBI about an assault that day of an inmate, identified as John Doe, by a corrections officer, identified as Gray Hawk, at the Tribe’s Adult Detention Center. While John Doe was shackled and not resisting, Gray Hawk fired his Taser at John Doe and then, while John Doe was sitting on the floor, kicked him in the head, causing John Doe’s head to hit an open metal food tray slot on the cell door. John Doe was treated for injuries at Poplar Community Hospital and returned to the detention center.

The government alleged that Gray Hawk, while acting under color of law as a corrections officer, willfully deprived John Doe of the right protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul D. Vestal for the District of Montana and Trial Attorney Eric N. Peffley, of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, are prosecuting the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.

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