Cory Evans, the Louisville Metro Police officer facing federal charges for allegedly striking a kneeling protester in May 2020, resigned from LMPD on Monday, according to a department spokesperson.
LMPD officials notified Evans late last week that they intended to terminate him. That came just one day after prosecutors alleged in court filings that Evans struck a protester with a baton. The attorneys argue he hit the person, identified only as “M.C.,” in the back of the head while the protester was kneeling with hands in the air, surrendering to police. Evans is charged with violating the protesters’ constitutional rights and causing bodily injury.
The alleged incident took place during the early days of mass demonstrations in Louisville over the police killing of Breonna Taylor two months before. LMPD spokesperson Beth Ruoff said then-interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder referred the allegations to federal authorities last year and skipped an internal investigation in deference to federal investigators. Evans was also placed on administrative reassignment.
Evans is facing a felony charge of “deprivation of rights under the color of law,’ which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or a fine. If convicted, Evans is also likely to lose his Kentucky law enforcement certification. Under state law, the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council revokes the certification of any officer who is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, a felony.
A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Evans for July 14, indicating he plans to plead guilty. Brian Butler, Evans’ lawyer, declined comment.
In a statement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he understands the difficulty of de-escalating tense situations, but called Evans’ response “unacceptable.”
“Though this officer resigned before he could be fired, he will never work again for LMPD, his file will document that he quit under threat of termination and would have been fired, and the state will be notified to ensure his law enforcement powers are revoked,” Fischer said.
Evans joined LMPD in 2014. The May incident is not the first time Evans was accused of using excessive force during an arrest.
Bystander video captured Evans and two other LMPD officers throwing a man to the ground and repeatedly punching him during a December 2018 traffic stop. The incident happened in the parking lot of a west Louisville Kroger, according to a Courier-Journal report at the time. Jarrus Ransom, the man they arrested, was seen wearing a neck brace in his mug shot.
Ransom sued the city in 2019, as well as three police officers allegedly involved in the arrest: Evans, Kyle Carroll and Sarah Nichols. In court filings, Ransom said he sustained injuries as a result of “excessive use of force against him.” He also alleged that LMPD “stalled and refused to turn over” information about the arrest that was sought through multiple open records requests.
Ransom alleged the officers violated his constitutional rights, and that the arrest amounted to “assault, battery and false imprisonment” under Kentucky law.
“The conspiratorial acts of [the officers] have caused the Plaintiff physical damage, emotional damage and fear,” his lawyers said in court filings.
The lawsuit against the officers was moved from state court to the U.S. District Court of Western Kentucky where it is still pending. All charges against Ransom stemming from the 2019 arrest were dropped.
This story was updated to include comment from Mayor Greg Fischer.