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Reality Training: CO hits inmate in head 15 times

This is a clear example of the power of video, lawyers and the media

By C1 Staff

A video out of the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility shows a handcuffed inmate being struck by a correctional officer in the head fifteen times.

The officer now under scrutiny for excessive use of force says that the inmate threatened the officers and also spit on them. The inmate was handcuffed following an argument with another officer. He had also been pepper sprayed to bring him under control.

Take a look at the video, and join us below for some discussion points.

FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

This is a clear example of the power of video, lawyers and the media. COs know that video can either help you or hurt you. Even though in the news report the inmate has a very bad record in the institution, the CO is pummeling him while handcuffed. That in itself does not look good for the CO.

The department is not going to discuss the case while it is under investigation and further discipline is being considered. That ensures that the CO is afforded fair due process. The media most likely would sensationalize this incident; the reporting would most likely be slanted towards the inmate. His attorney would be interviewed again. Also, it is VERY doubtful that the inmate was denied a hearing or medical attention.

A few things to consider for training:

- Inmates will continually act up after restrained; COs reported that he spat at them. It is doubtful to me that the inmate’s claim of a CO biting him is valid. I do not know any CO who would bite an inmate, unless he or she is fighting for their life.

- Self-control is important. Emotions can run high and actions based on them can occur very quickly. Once inmates are restrained, they are restrained. Use only the force necessary to control the situation. Supervisors must address out of control staff. When an inmate is restrained, and a CO punches him repeatedly, this is wrong and hard to justify.

- It is important that COs control themselves. If the inmate is restrained, but continues to mouth off and spits, get a spit mask and put it on him. Verbal harassment comes with the job, although it shows how the inmate was behaving. The report should reflect that.

- If the remark was made by a CO to the one hitting the inmate: “figure out how he was going to get out of this one”, the CO may be a ‘loose cannon’ on the deck. If a CO said that, it should not be covered up.

- Let the agency do its job and investigate and discipline the officer. By doing so in a fair way, without media interference, they send the message that COs will be treated fairly.

This series of columns takes recent situations in the news and uses video footage to start a discussion.