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ADOC suspends Elmore guard after video of prison beating

The Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division is investigating the incident and “the response by the staff involved.”

A screenshot from a social media video that appears to show an Alabama prison guard beating an incarcerated individual on a roof. VIA ALABAMA FAMILIES UNITED

A correctional officer at Elmore Correctional Facility has been placed on mandatory leave pending an investigation into an incident that occurred on Wednesday. Numerous videos appear to show a correctional officer beating an incarcerated man on the roof of a building at the Elmore County facility.

The Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division is investigating the incident and “the response by the staff involved,” a spokesperson for the department said. The spokesperson confirmed Monday that Ell White, a correctional officer at the facility, is believed to be the guard involved in the incident. The spokesperson also confirmed the identity of the incarcerated man who was beaten.

According to the ADOC, Jimmy Norman, a 44-year-old incarcerated man at the Elmore County facility, was the man shown in several videos posted to social media last week. Norman was on the roof of the facility chapel, the spokesperson said, which prompted correctional officers, including White, to “attempt to escort Norman off the roof.”

In videos shared on social media, Norman is seen in distress on top of the roof with White repeatedly striking him after pulling Norman from the crest of the roof. White struck Norman a total of five times, as seen in the videos.

In 2017, White was one of the witnesses interviewed in the internal investigation into the death of Billy Smith, an incarcerated man at the Elmore County facility who died as a result of injuries he received from correctional staff and another incarcerated man.

Smith was involved in a violent dispute with a fellow inmate, then was beaten and hogtied by guards and placed into a prison transport van after being denied care by a prison nurse in the infirmary, according to Injustice Watch. Smith was later transported to Staton Correctional Facility’s health care unit but was denied treatment and later found unresponsive in the back of the transport van upon its return to Elmore.

White was one of the officers who transported Smith to the health care unit, with White recounting that he poured water over Smith to wake him as he lay unconscious in a holding cell at Staton. Nurses at the facility later heard the sound of water in his lungs, according to Injustice Watch. White later said that the officers did not buckle Smith to his seat when transporting him back to the Elmore facility.

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Smith was placed on life-support with a do-not-resuscitate wristband placed on him, according to Injustice Watch, and later succumbed to his injuries.

Alleged beats of incarcerated individuals by correctional staff are one of the many grievances the U.S. Department of Justice cites in their ongoing lawsuit with the state and the ADOC. Reports released from the Justice Department in April and July of 2019, that the original lawsuit was based upon a systemic use of excessive force by correctional staff within the corrections system.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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