Three guards accused of beating an inmate at New York State’s Attica prison so severely that doctors had to insert a plate and six pins into his leg each pleaded guilty yesterday to a single misdemeanor charge of misconduct. The last-minute plea deal spared them prison in exchange for quitting their jobs. The resolution of the case came more than three years after corrections officers beat a 29-year-old inmate, George Williams, at the prison in western New York. He suffered two broken legs, broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a severe fracture of his eye socket.
“Let me be clear: This has never been about jail for these officers, even though they came dangerously close to that idea,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen. “This prosecution has always been about holding these officers accountable for their abuse of power and to, once and for all, get them out of the corrections profession.” Williams, who said he still had trauma from the beating on Aug. 11, 2011, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the three guards and another officer seeking damages. The prosecution was the first time any New York State corrections officers had been criminally charged with a nonsexual assault of an inmate, officials said. The three defendants would have faced a minimum of five years' imprisonment if convicted.