Witnesses: 20 officers beat bipolar black inmate to death — and none of them have been punished
Samuel Harrell, 30, died of a homicide at the hands of 20 correctional officers and none of them have faced any punishment.
The New York Times reported that inmates at Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York who witness the death said that Harrell was acting erratically on the evening of April 21 because he had bipolar disorder.
A confrontation with officers led to Harrell being thrown to the ground, a witness said. About 20 officers — some of them from what was known as the “Beat Up Squad” — reportedly kicked and beat the inmate.
According to written accounts from inmates, they heard officers shouting racial slurs at Harrell, who was black.
“Like he was a trampoline, they were jumping on him,” inmate Edwin Pearson wrote. Another inmate said that he saw Harrell “bent in an impossible position” after officers dragged him down a staircase.
“His eyes were open,” the inmate recalled. “But they weren’t looking at anything.”
When the ambulance arrived, correctional officers told the E.M.S. crew that Harrell was suffering from an overdose of a form of synthetic marijuana known as K2. However, they omitted the fact that officers had beat him.
Four months after Harrell was pronounced dead, corrections officials have refused to provide details about the death, citing an ongoing investigation.
An autopsy report ruled the death a homicide. The medical examiner said that no drugs other than an antidepressant and tobacco were found in Harrell’s system.
Grievances filed by inmates in recent months have accused of “a group of rogue officers” of going around “beating up people” at the prison. One inmate said that he lost front teeth and was hospitalized after being beaten up by the officers.
The Times pointed out that none of the officers involved in the death had faced disciplinary action.