Staff defends video showing correctional officers swarming inmate's cell

Inmate is accused of uttering threats toward staff, initiating a cell extraction

By C1 Staff

CANADA -- Video of officers swarming an inmate’s cell was defended by staff members as regular procedure during the trial of the same inmate who was accused of threatening officers.

Nelson Hart, who was acquitted of double-murder charges in connection with the deaths of his two young daughters, was on trial again for allegedly throwing a paper plate at correctional officers, reports the CBC.

The Crown described the assault charge as a “distraction” from the more serious threat charge, which occurred during the same incident.

Six videos were shown during the trial, according to The Telegram.

Hart is accused of uttering threats and causing damage to the prison he was incarcerated at. On June 24, 2013, Hart was kept apart from other inmates while a meal was served for safety reasons.

While being served a meal in his cell, officers ordered Hart to put his shirt back on. Hart refused and cursed at officers. While putting his meal through the door slot, the food tray somehow ended up on the floor.

Officers said they would get Hart another meal tray and asked him to exit the cell so they could clean up the mess. While outside his cell, Hart went for another tray that did not belong to him. When he was denied, he allegedly grabbed a kettle from a nearby kitchenette and swung it at a TV. Staff said he threatened to kill them.

Officers rushed him back into his cell, restraining him on the floor. They then left the cell and Hart moved to his bed, lying down.

In the publically released video, Hart says something as he points at the door. A moment later, 10 correctional officers come through the door and throw Hart to the floor.

He isn’t seen again until a minute later, when he’s dragged away to segregation.

Krista Williams, a staff member, explained that it’s prison protocol to have a minimum of six correctional officers in a cell during a prisoner extraction.

“But depending on the situation, it’s not abnormal to have more than six because of the volatility of the situation and safety risk,” she said.

Williams defended the officers, saying that none of them struck or kicked Hart, or made any insulting or degrading remarks to him. When the defense pointed out that Hart appeared to be under control and just lying on his bed, she said that he was yelling threats and refusing to show his hands when asked.

When pressed about whether the officers’ actions in the video constituted criminal activity, investigating officer Jeff Mackey replied that he was “absolutely positive” that nothing wrong was being done.

Hart’s trial resumes April 1.

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