DA: Detainee beaten after he called NY corrections officer lazy
Schenectady County Court charged Eugene Sellie with two counts each of felony assault and official misconduct
By Paul Nelson
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A now former Schenectady County jail guard violently attacked a detainee inside the jail after the man complained about how long it was taking for him to be processed and accused the guard of being lazy, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said Tuesday.
The prosecutor spoke after a four-count indictment handed up Schenectady County Court charged Eugene Sellie with two counts each of felony assault and official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
Carney explained the second-degree assault charges arise from the numerous punches and kick with a heavy wor boot that Sellie inflicted on John Mannarino during a Nov. 9 attack carried out in a part of the jail that has no security cameras.
"He had broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a collapsed lung, but those injuries were caused by his (Sellie's) fists," said Carney. "He also kicked him with a boot, and that kicking caused physical injury."
Carney said Sellie, 28, grew angry when Mannarino, who was complaining about the time it was taking for him to be processed and released from the jail, accused Sellie of being lazy.
If convicted, the assault charge could put Sellie in prison for seven years.
After the alleged attack, Sellie was led out of the jail. A parole officers found him outside the building and summoned medical care.
The two official misconduct offenses carry a maximum of up to a year in jail.
Carney explained the rational for the two charges.
"One on the theory that he did not seek any medical treatment for the detainee and the second count that he didn't comply with the use of force procedures by the sheriff's office at the correctional facility," he said. "He (Mannarino) required medical attention he didn't get and he didn't report anything as required by the use of force protocol."
Sheriff Dominic Dagostino fired Sellie after the incident.
Sellie's attorney, Andrew Safranko, has previously said his client acted in self-defense and would ultimately try to get his job back.
He said late Tuesday that he had not been advised by the DA's Office or court about the indictment.
Sellie is expected to be arraigned on the charges in the coming days.
The attack on Mannarino took place in a changing room at the Veeder Avenue jail where inmates change from jail garb into street clothes and where strip searches are done. For privacy reasons, there are no security cameras in the space.
Dagostino also fired Sellie's supervising sergeant at the time, Timothy Bruce, a day after the alleged attack. Bruce faces no criminal charges.
Sellie had five years on the job and Bruce, who does not face criminal charges, had 14 years of service.
Authorities have said Sellie led Mannarino to the changing area and attacked him after Mannarino, 33, complained it was taking too long to process and release him after an arrest in Niskayuna. Once the beating was over, Sellie walked Mannarino out of the jail, the sheriff said.
Dagostino has previously said Mannarino was so badly hurt that his injuries drew the attention of a parole officer who spotted the wounded man outside the jail after he was released.
"This was an unprovoked attack on a defenseless man who, had he not obtained medical attention thanks to a parole officer passing by, might have suffered lethal consequences," said Carney in a statement.
Sellie was initially arrested after a weeklong probe by the Schenectady Police Department. Dagostino requested the outside investigation.
Court papers show Mannarino was charged in Niskayuna Town Court with obstruction of breathing and criminal mischief for allegedly choking a woman at an apartment and damaging a bedroom door on Nov. 6.
Mannarino was slated to return to court on Jan. 20, but a court clerk said Tuesday that date will have to be rescheduled because the court is still closed due of COVID-19.
The case against Sellie is being handled by Assistant District Attorneys Brian Gray and Jennifer Assini.
(c)2021 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)