• September 4, 2021

Prisoner beaten by guards unable to access body camera images

Victoria’s Attorney General Jaclyn Symes.Credit:Eddie jim

“After [the prisoner] he was brought to the ground by two prison officers, two additional prison officers entered his cell and more force was applied, ”says the IBAC report.

“[Body-worn camera] The footage shows Officer 1 delivering what appears to be blows to the prisoner’s body with his hand or fist. Officer 1 can be heard saying: ‘Do what they tell you. You don’t argue with us and waste our fucking time, ‘while the prisoner can be heard asking,’ Why are you hitting me on the head? ‘

“The footage suggests that for about two minutes, Officer 1 continued to admonish Prisoner A and hit him. During this time, a second [tactical operations group] The officer can be heard yelling, ‘stop resisting’ and ‘don’t bite him’, while the inmate can be heard saying, ‘I’m not resisting’. While these events were taking place, the prisoner’s hands were handcuffed behind his back ”.

The sunday era He has interviewed the former prisoner about his assault and his account agrees with what is described in the IBAC report.

“They made me undress and ordered me to turn around, bend over and open my mouth. All the usual naked search which normally takes 20-30 seconds. But they continued to do so. After a minute, it started to get weird. The officer behind me kept covering his body camera, ”said the man, who has now completed his probation.

“Then I knew something was going to happen… it felt like sexual abuse because I was naked. It was degrading and demoralizing. “

The man, who asked not to be identified, said it made no sense for the images from the body cameras to be kept secret. “Isn’t that the purpose of the body cameras, to protect both sides of the fence?” he said.

His attorney, Jeremy King, director of the Robinson Gill law firm, said a suit for aggravated assault and exemplary damages would be filed against G4S.

“The prison and the guards have a strong duty of care towards the prisoners because they have important powers and almost total control over them. When this power is abused, our judicial and grievance systems must be held accountable. However, unless the prisoners have access to all the images, including the images from the body-worn cameras, it is very difficult to see how this is going to happen, ”King said.

Liberty Victoria’s president, attorney Julia Kretzenbacher, said the organization supported the legislative change to allow body-worn camera images to be available in civil proceedings.

The former inmate said there would have been no consequences for the prison guards had it not been for his partner noticing the bruises and swelling on his face during a video call.

She reported the incident to Corrections Victoria and IBAC. No criminal charges were brought against any of the guards, but two were sanctioned by their employer, G4S.

The company also received a financial sanction from the Victorian government for breach of its contract.

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