Eyewitness account: Inmate beaten and bloodied for getting a book

I actually need to address a matter which carries a greater sense of urgency…

In — alone there have been 9 incidents which required additional officer backup from 2/1 to 2/11 (and I hear — had the whole pod locked down for over 3 weeks and that — was locked down for over 2 months.) The latest incident occurred last night at the 10:45 pm lock-back time. A brief description is that an inmate went two doors down from his cell to grab a book to read from another inmate. The c.o. singled him out (for there were a few others passing stuff instead of catching their door) and ordered him to surrender the book which he reluctantly did. A short time later he asked the c.o. why he got singled out (and may have asked for the sergeant–not sure here) and after a verbal sparring he proceeded to kick his cell door.

It should be noted that I have written down a more detailed account should one be needed. Suffice it to say, the guards now had cause to take him to the hole, and that is what they proceeded to do after a scuffle in his cell. The inmate exited his cell with his hands securely cuffed behind his back and being escorted by 2 sergeants and 2 officers. The inmate was agitated and as he approached my cell and after passing it I did hear him…saying they wouldn’t act so tough if these cuffs weren’t on him. This, in my opinion, does not justify one sergeant saying, “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get those cuffs off in the hole,” which is taunting the inmate, nor does it justify the other sergeant in announcing to the pod, “Everybody, he’s checking off…” which as you know, is calling the inmate a coward and insinuates he acted up on purpose because he was scared of another inmate. Shortly after he crossed out of the pod and into the hall between –/– the inmate either tried to turn or stop and an officer immediately and violently slammed his head into the wall. This use of force was unwarranted and unjustifiable considering there were four officers around him. The proper procedure likely was to bring him to the floor. You’ll recall he was cuffed behind his back, and so he had no hand or arm to soften the blow. This was not the bloodiest incident I’ve ever seen, but it was bloody and one of the worst officer on inmate incidents I’ve witnessed. And you know the drill, the c.o.s hauled him off to the hole (likely to medical at some point too), had the trustees of our pod wipe away the evidence–blood splatter–and then went around the pod spreading their version of events till the outcry subsided–of course, it’s easy to sell their version cause if the pod did not quiet down and buy it, they said we’d go on lockdown like — with only 30 minutes a day! No one knows what became of the inmate.

I will tell you this, the inmate’s name is ——. The officer who assaulted him and slammed his head was ———-. The c.o. holding the inmate’s arm was —-, and the two sergeants were — and —. It should also be noted that I get along well with each of these officers and I did not particularly care for this inmate, so it grieves me to have to write this, but I feel that despite my interactions with these c.o.’s, they must be held accountable for their actions, and regardless of the actions of inmates, as badge-wearing, correctional officers, they are expected to maintain dignity, integrity and honor in executing  their duties, and that was not the case here. Furthermore, regardless of what my opinion may be of the inmate involved, he deserves the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and I hope to see him receive justice if only so that he may not be further incensed by a justice system he does not trust to be fair…

Until then, and I know you’re busy, I’d love to hear from you regarding the contents of this letter and any suggestions you may be able to add.

With my best regards,

Note:  Specific details and the victim’s name is withheld to protect their identity and to respect their privacy and wishes to determine next steps. The officers’ names are withheld at this time, only until the time comes to fully expose them. Keep an eye out here for updates. 

But let it be said loud and clear, through the cell blocks and to wake up the neighborhoods: the freedom to live a full, creative life is not circumscribed merely by four rogue corrections officers, or by a few bad cops, an R.S. Mbuthia (killer of Jose Ocampo) or R.C. Swartz (killer of Derek Walker) here, a Samuel Duncan (responsible for Chuy Huerta’s death) there. To blame is a system that calls itself justice and only delivers injustice; that ‘requires’ discipline (as in locking back on time), but  cultivates disinterest and boredom (and rewards or covers up lack of discipline); that proclaims to seek ‘order,’ but brings inequality, disorder and misery.

One thought on “Eyewitness account: Inmate beaten and bloodied for getting a book

  1. Pingback: ‘I want people to know what happens behind these walls’ | Amplify Voices Inside

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