Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog
Our Blog Tips

Officials looking into Texas inmate's beating while strapped in restraining chair

6-13-2004 Texas:

.FORT WORTH, Texas – Officials are investigating how a prisoner managed to enter the cell of another inmate and beat him as he was strapped to a chair after a suicide attempt. Brady Hicks Jr. suffered cuts and bruises to his head and face last month after fellow Tarrant County Jail inmate Leslie Wardwell rushed past a jailer into the cell, put Hicks in a headlock and punched him for 30 seconds, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Sunday's editions.

The sheriff's department began investigating the May 9 incident this month after the newspaper inquired about it. Hicks had been placed in a chair that secured his arms and legs after he tried to hang himself. "This should have never, never happened," said Sue Hicks, the inmate's wife. "Dogs are treated better in the pound."

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said he believes human error led to the incident. "It wasn't anything intentional on the jailer's part, and he tried to stop it," Anderson said. The jailer had opened the isolation room's door when Wardell rushed in and began beating Hicks, Chief Deputy Cedric Simon said.

The jailer called for help, and it took five or six others to remove Wardwell. The jailer could be disciplined if the investigation finds he violated department policies. Hicks, 38, was jailed on a sexual assault charge.

Wardwell, 48, was being held on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He previously had attacked another inmate, officials said. Simon said he did not know why Hicks was attacked, but he said Hicks had angered many in the cellblock by using racial slurs.

He said Hicks also made a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood by cutting holes in his T-shirt and pulling it over a plastic soda bottle he had placed on his head. Wardwell, like Hicks, is white. Critics say the incident is further proof that the restraining chairs should not be used.

"I think they are barbaric," said Larry Moore, president of the Tarrant County Defense Lawyers Association. "I thought we were a little bit beyond using the chair." Since 1999, two people have died in the chairs in Tarrant County Jail.

Anderson said the sheriff's department has drastically reduced its use of the restraining chair. It is used as a last resort, he said. "I think our policies are good," Anderson said. "I think the proper precautions are being taken." ..more.. : by SignOn SanDiego

No comments: