A defenseless inmate was beaten by the Tioga County, N.Y., Jail’s top administrator, David Monell, after being pepper-sprayed and handcuffed to a wooden bench by other officers. A district attorney decided not to prosecute after Monell resigned, reports the Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun-Bulletin, although the beating was captured on videotape.
The very next day, Monell was honored by the New York State Senate as the “2010 Correction Officer of the Year.” The legislators had no idea what had happened only hours before. “Oftentimes, they figure the problem is solved by the staff person no longer working there,” said University of Texas professor Michele Deitch, an expert on oversight of jails and prisons. “But unfortunately, that sends a really bad message to other staff: that this won’t be taken seriously if you’re caught.” While county authorities never brought the incident to public attention, taxpayers are in line to pay the price of the beating: A settlement for an undisclosed sum is pending in a federal lawsuit against the county, the Sheriff’s Office, and Monell.