(CNN)A Louisville, Kentucky, police officer faces a federal charge after allegedly hitting a kneeling person in the head during an arrest in May 2020, court documents show.
Louisville officer charged with allegedly hitting a person in the head who was surrendering for arrest
The arrest happened in the midst of a wave of protests against the killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis -- both of whom were Black people killed by police officers last year.
Louisville Metro Police Officer Cory Evans faces one count of deprivation of rights, according to the charging document filed Wednesday by the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky.
A conviction on the charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and monetary fines.
The arrest happened either on or around May 31, 2020, the document said. Evans is alleged to have struck the person in the back of the head with a riot stick while the person, kneeling with hands in the air, was surrendering for arrest, which resulted in bodily injury, according to the document. The person was only identified in court documents as "M.C.," and no details were given about their injuries.
Evans' attorney, Brian Butler, told CNN he could not comment at this time.
On Thursday, Evans was served with pre-termination paperwork, according to LMPD.
The department says the chief's office immediately referred these allegations to federal authorities when they came to light. Internal investigations by LMPD were stayed in deference of the federal investigations, and Evans was placed on administrative reassignment, according to LMPD.
LMPD also released Evans' personnel file Thursday, which includes more than a dozen letters of commendation, as well as professional standards investigations including use of force incidents and warrantless searches, two of which he was reprimanded for. Evans has been with LMPD since 2014.
LMPD has had a publicly tense relationship with residents since police shot and killed Taylor in her apartment in March 2020. An officer involved in the botched raid was fired and charged with endangering people in a neighboring apartment. He pleaded not guilty and faces trial in 2022. No other officer was indicted in the shooting.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called in National Guard troops to provide support and enforce a nightly curfew during the May 2020 protests.
The city's leadership is now under investigation by an oversight panel of the Louisville Metro Council for its conduct leading up to the Taylor raid and its response to protests, and in April, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a Justice Department investigation into the LMPD's practices.