LMPD Officer Cory Evans. Image courtesy Louisville Metro Police. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department plans to fire an an officer who is being federally charged for hitting a kneeling protester in the back of the head with a riot stick during a demonstration for racial justice on May 31, 2020. 

LMPD Officer Cory Evans, who is scheduled to plead guilty in court next month, was served pre-termination paperwork Thursday, the department announced in a statement. 

The department released a statement Thursday evening saying the Chief's Office "immediately referred" the allegations against Evans to federal authorities "when they came to light."

"Internal investigations were stayed in deference of the federal investigations, and Officer Evans was placed on administrative reassignment," the statement continued. "The federal investigations resulted in Evans' indictment yesterday (June 9). Officer Cory Evans was served with pre-termination paperwork today (June 10)." 

Evans is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on July 14, which indicates he will plead guilty on a charge of injuring a protester who was allegedly "kneeling with hands in the air, surrendering for arrest" when he hit them in the back of the head with a riot stick, according to court records.

Evans is scheduled to be arraigned that day on a charge of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court. 

A change of plea hearing will follow his arraignment, according to court records.

Evans allegedly "willfully deprived arrestee M.C. of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free of an unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer," the complaint filed in federal court says.

The alleged incident took place just three days after protests for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot and killed in March 2020 by white LMPD officers in her home, broke out in downtown Louisville. 

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings, according to court records. 

Evans' attorney, Brian Butler, told WDRB News he cannot at this time comment on the case.

The FBI also told WDRB News it is not commenting on the charge. 

Evans has been with LMPD since 2014, according to the city's salary database. In 2019, Evans was exonerated from allegations of police brutality after a Public Standards Unit investigation into a controversial traffic stop that occurred in December 2018 in front of the Kroger near the intersection of South 26th Street and West Broadway.

Cell phone video shows Evans punching Jarrus Ransom several times after police found pills in a Pepsi can while searching his car. Ransom was in a neck brace in his Metro Corrections mugshot, and his eye was swollen. Body camera footage of the incident shows Ransom lunge into Evans and officers struggling to get him into handcuffs. The charges against Ransom stemming from the traffic stop were later dropped. 

Ransom sued the city, Evans and fellow Officers Kyle Carroll and Sarah Nicolas, claiming they used excessive force during his arrest. The lawsuit was moved to federal court in the Western District of Kentucky, and the city has been dismissed from the case, according to court records.

In April, Evans sued local DUI attorney Larry Forman for defamation after a video was posted to YouTube alleging the officer planted evidence during the traffic stop. 

This story may be updated. 

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