MONROE — Five former corrections officers at a Louisiana prison have been indicted on charges they conspired to assault handcuffed inmates and submitted false reports on the incident.

The former officers at the Richwood Correctional Center in Ouachita (WASH'-ih-tah) Parish were charged in a seven-count federal indictment that was unsealed Thursday.

The U.S. Justice Department said the defendants made their initial court appearances Thursday. They are Roderick Douglas, 37, of Monroe; Christopher Loring, 35, of Monroe; Demario Shaffer, 33, of Delhi, Louisiana; Quintail Credit, 26, of Winnsboro, Louisiana; and David Parker, 27, of Tallulah, Louisiana.

The March 29 indictment says Loring "stood by" and didn't intervene when the other guards sprayed a chemical agent into the faces of five handcuffed inmates, who were kneeling on the floor in an area of the prison without surveillance cameras. The inmates didn't pose any threat to the officers during the 2016 incident, the indictment adds.

The officers tried to cover up the assault on the inmates by filing false reports on the incident to explain why the inmates needed medical treatment, the indictment says. Three of the officers are charged with lying to FBI agents about the incident in July 2017. Loring and Shaffer falsely claimed that one of the inmates had "pulled away" from Douglas before the officer sprayed him, the indictment alleges.

Attorneys representing Credit, Shaffer and Douglas didn't immediately respond Thursday evening to emails seeking comment on the charges. It wasn't immediately clear if Loring or Parker have attorneys.

Richwood Correctional Center is a private prison operated by LaSalle Corrections. Louisiana's corrections department regularly inspects the facility but doesn't employ the officers who work there, according to department spokesman Ken Pastorick.

"The department does not condone this type of activity," Pastorick said.