Cory Evans, a former Louisville Metro Police officer, has been sentenced to two years in prison for striking a kneeling protester in the head with a baton during a demonstration in May 2020, the Courier-Journal reports. Speaking in court, Evans said he was embarrassed by what he had done to Marty Chester when protesters came together to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.
While he appeared remorseful in court, Evans was more defensive in a recent interview with WAVE3 News.
"I don't deny that he was hit," he told the news station. "I deny that I hit him with the intent or malice."
Chester lost his hearing for several months after he was assaulted by the officer. He also needed three staples to treat the gash on his head. Additionally, Chester said he has been experiencing anxiety and post-traumatic stress since the attack.
The protester urged the court to give the maximum sentence to the officer and to show him "the same lack of mercy he showed me as I bled out."
"You have stolen my security, Mr. Evans," he said.
The former officer said he lost everything because of the felony, including his potential police and military pensions.
"The only thing I have left is my family," he said.
While prosecutors argued for a sentence of four years in prison, Evans' attorney sought probation instead of prison. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings said four years is too much, but no prison is not enough for the "very serious offense."
The court has now ordered Evans to pay $1,962.85 in restitution in addition to prison time.
Defense attorney Brian Butler said Evans is known for the heroic acts he performed during his career.
"He is the poster child for everything we want young men and young women to be in this country," Butler said. "What's happening to Cory Evans is absolutely draconian."
Documents obtained by the Courier-Journal reveal a different story about the officer. According to the records, Evans was accused of using excessive force in at least 27 incidents during his seven years as a sworn officer. Two of those incidents took place after he was accused of striking Chester.
During the protests on May 31, 2020, Evans was working with his colleagues to enforce the city's curfew mandate. As police were looking to arrest people for violating the curfew, one officer spotted Chester and ordered him to "get down on the ground."
As Chester took a knee with his hands in the air, Evans struck him on the back of the head with a baton, according to court records. Evans resigned in July 2021 after the Louisville Metro Police Department initiated his termination.
Butler launched accusations against Chester, saying he was in a group of people who were committing arson and throwing bricks. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory said Chester was arrested that night, but his charge was dismissed and expunged. According to Gregory, no officer said they saw Chester throw bricks or start fires.
Gregory said officers were under intense stress during the protests, but "that doesn't mean it's open season" on residents.