How NY Inmate Died In Prison Where There Are No Excessive Force Charges


The New York Times tells the story of New York State inmate Leonard Strickland, a prisoner with schizophrenia who got into an argument with guards, and ended up dead. Inmate say guards got away with murder, ganging up on Strickland and beating him so viciously that he could barely move. The guards say they acted in self-defense and did what was necessary to subdue an out-of-control prisoner. In a security video, Strickland is seen in handcuffs, barely conscious and being dragged along the floor by officers, while a prison nurse does nothing. As he lies face down on the floor, near death, guards can be heard shouting, “Stop resisting.”

Medical records described Strickland's body as cold to the touch and covered in cuts and bruises, with blood flowing from his ears. The Times says the 2010 case fits a troubling pattern of savage beatings by corrections officers at prisons across New York State and a department that rarely holds anyone accountable. The State Police and the local district attorney's office could not recall the last time charges had been brought against an officer at Clinton Correctional Facility, where Strickland was housed, for excessive force, if ever, though inmates have filed scores of brutality lawsuits in recent years. In the Strickland case, the police and the district attorney concluded there had been no criminal wrongdoing, though two state prison watchdog agencies, the State Commission of Correction and the Commission on Quality Care and Advocacy for Persons With Disabilities, issued highly critical reports documenting numerous misleading and false statements by officers.

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