Sheriff pleads not guilty to ordering inmates' beatings
LAFAYETTE - A Louisiana sheriff has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he ordered inmates to be beaten in retaliation for a lewd comment and complaints about jail conditions.
Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson says Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal entered the plea during his arraignment Thursday on charges of conspiracy and deprivation of rights under color of law.
A March 9 indictment claims Ackal directed officers to assault inmates in the parish jail's chapel, where no surveillance cameras would record the April 2011 beatings.
The indictment says Ackal and Gerald Savoy, one of his top lieutenants, watched as officers used batons to beat an inmate.
Savoy also was indicted and pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Nine former employees of the sheriff's office already have pleaded guilty to related charges.