Inmates: We Saw Guards Beat Samuel Harrell to Death

Inmates: We Saw Guards Beat Samuel Harrell to Death

Advocacy group hopes for a full federal investigation of New York's correctional centers.

Published August 18, 2015

Nineteen inmates at New York’s Fishkill Correctional Facility signed affidavits stating that they witnessed guards beat Samuel Harrell to death. 

Harrell, 30, was killed on April 21 in the prison. The New York Times reports he had a “history of erratic behavior linked to bipolar disorder.” On the day of his death, he had packed a bag and told the guards that his sister was at the prison to take him home. Shortly after, he was confronted by more than a dozen police officers, was thrown to the ground and was kicked and punched. 

“Like he was a trampoline, they were jumping on him,” said Edwin Pearson, an inmate who watched the incident. 

Other inmates say he was then thrown down a staircase. 

Coroner ruled Harrell’s death a homicide. No officers have been disciplined for the death.

In response to recent reports, the Correctional Association of New York has called for an expansive federal investigation of the state prison system, the Associated Press reports. The advocacy group said the Justice Department is investigating Clinton Correctional, Attica and other institutions across the state. 

"Anyone found to have engaged in any misconduct or in any legal violations will be disciplined and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Linda Foglia, a department spokeswoman.

Read the full details of Harrell's case and other cases of abuse in New York's correctional facilities here.

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(Photo: Department of Corrections and Community Supervision at Fishkill/Law Enforcement)

Written by BET-Staff

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