Beatings Alleged in NC Prison’s “Boom-Boom Room”

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One inmate says officers at North Carolina’s Lumberton Correctional Institution repeatedly beat him last year as he lay handcuffed on the floor of an office known as the “boom-boom room.” The prison’s former superintendent ordered the beating, he told the Charlotte Observer.

Inmate Morlai Sesay, 65, contends he was causing no harm when officers tripped him, kicked him and beat him with batons. Afterward, he was hospitalized for four days with fractures to bones in his face and skull. Another former prisoner says he was naked in a shower when an officer sprayed him in the groin with pepper spray.  A third inmate shared copies of letters he wrote to top state prison officials, complaining about assaults by officers at Lumberton.

Asked about reports of beatings in the “boom-boom room,” former prison superintendent Brad Perritt said, “I know no such room.” In January, the 21-year prison system veteran was appointed to run another prison. A state prison spokesman said there’s no evidence that prison managers ordered officers to assault inmates. The prison system’s regional office “continues to review and closely monitor” use-of-force incidents at Lumberton, the spokesman said. In the five weeks since the Observer published a story about Sesay, the newspaper has heard from six more inmates and two former staff members who described beatings at the medium security prison south of Fayetteville. The inmates and former employees said some those assaults occurred in the “boom-boom room,” a spot unmonitored by video cameras where they said officers routinely beat prisoners.

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