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NY Inmate’s Death Ruled A Homicide

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A New York inmate who was severely beaten by prison guards at the Fishkill Correctional Facility’s death has been ruled a homicide by investigators.

On the evening of April 21, Samuel Harrell packed his bags and announced that he was going home despite having several years left to serve on his drug sentence. Harrell, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was dead soon after.

As many as 20 officers — including members of a group known as the Beat Up Squad — repeatedly assaulted Harrell as they shouted racial slurs at him, according to the New York Times. 

“Like he was a trampoline, they were jumping on him,” Edwin Pearson told the Times. Pearson, who is an inmate, watched in shock from a nearby bathroom.

Harrell was then thrown or dragged down a staircase, according to several inmates’ accounts. One inmate reported seeing him lying on the landing, “in an impossible position.”

“His eyes were open,” the inmate wrote, “but they weren’t looking at anything.”

Medical records state that while corrections officers called for an ambulance, the officers mentioned nothing about a physical encounter. Instead, records showed they told the ambulance crew that Harrell probably overdosed on K2, a synthetic form of marijuana.

He was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital that evening.

Details about what happened have been sketchy. State corrections officials haven’t been as forthcoming with information regarding the incident that took place at the medium security prison in Beacon, N.Y.

An autopsy conducted by an Orange County medical examiner determined that Harrell, 30, had cuts and bruises to the head, extremities and had no illicit drugs in his system. The examiner did find an antidepressant and tobacco in his system. Harrell died of cardiac arrhythmia “following physical altercation with corrections officers,” the autopsy report said.

The manner of death: Homicide.

Read the rest at the New York Times.