LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former Louisville Metro Corrections officer convicted of using excessive force when he attacked an inmate, breaking his jaw, was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison.

Darrell Taylor was facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison after a federal jury convicted him in October on one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Taylor’s attorney had asked the judge for a sentence of three years probation, claiming the attack occurred on Dec. 15, 2020, after the inmate screamed threats and racial slurs inside his dorm and then tried to fight Taylor.

Taylor testified the inmate had struck him in the chest, scratched and spit at him.

"Mr. Taylor has been fired and has been convicted by a jury as a felon," attorney Casey McCall, who represented Taylor, wrote in court records. "His life has been consumed with these events for more than two years, he will never reoffend."

On Wednesday, during his sentencing, Taylor acknowledged he made a mistake and took responsibility for his actions. After he serves his sentence, he will be placed on supervised release for two years. 

Prosecutors had asked the judge for at least a six-year-prison sentence, arguing that Taylor lied about the inmate attacking him and seriously injured the victim. 

Taylor followed the inmate to his bunk, dragged him to the ground, beat him until he was unconscious "and then slammed his limp body face first into the concrete floor, breaking his jaw and cheekbone," prosecutors wrote in court records. 

Immediately after the incident, Taylor told another officer he had beaten the inmate because he was “upset about insulting language” while he was serving breakfast. He did not mention that the inmate had tried to fight him, prosecutors wrote in court records.

Among the evidence presented at the trial was a video of Taylor grabbing an inmate, identified only by the initials B.R., throwing him to the ground and punching him repeatedly in the head and face. 

Prosecutors said B.R. was put on a liquid diet for six days, received stiches and surgery was recommended.

B.R. did not testify at the trial or sentencing. 

“The defendant brutally beat a mentally ill pretrial detainee into submission in an argument over breakfast trays,” according to a sentencing memo written by the U.S. Attorney’s office. “The defendant never took responsibility for his crime despite the fact that his actions, which included punching the detainee four times in the face and then slamming his unconscious body into the concrete floor, were caught on video.”

Taylor was fired four months later after being accused of using unlawful force and not wearing a body camera.

McCall wrote in a sentencing memo that Taylor was "put in an untenable situation alone in a room with dozens of inmates, pretrial detainees and defendants serving sentences or awaiting transport on serious felonies. This case is not about abuse of trust; this case is about a law enforcement officer making a split second decision."

This story may be updated.

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.