Three prison guards at a Philly jail have been accused of beating up an inmate in June and lying to cover it up.
Corrections officers Milton Gibbs, 52, Terrance Bailey, 30 and Shaun Lowe, 26, are charged with aggravated assault, tampering with public records and related charges for the attack on an inmate at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC), the District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
Gibbs allegedly sparked the altercation on June 21 when he "became agitated with the victim, a male inmate, and began pounding on his cell door and threatening him," according to prosecutors.
"After returning to the control desk, Gibbs called Bailey and they entered the victim's cell and began to repeatedly punch and kick the victim," the DA's office stated. "Eventually, they handcuffed the victim and walked him down a staircase, striking him along the way."
The assault just escalated, with Lowe later joining in for no apparent reason, prosecutors said.
"At the cell block’s exit, Bailey struck the victim in the back of the head knocking him to the ground. Gibbs and Bailey then dragged the victim into the central control area and began to stomp on him," prosecutors said. "Lowe arrived on scene and joined in the assault."
The victim reportedly lost consciousness twice during the beating. The DA also said the officers intentionally assaulted the inmate in areas not recorded by surveillance cameras.
Gibbs and Bailey later "submitted a mental health referral alleging that the victim intentionally harmed himself to cover up the assault. ... Gibbs tried to coerce the victim to not report the incident in exchange for food from the staff kitchen," according to prosecutors.
In their incident reports, all three prison guards claimed to only use "open hand" blows during the incident.
District Attorney Seth Williams credited the Philadelphia Prison System for requesting further investigation of the incident.
“This attack on a handcuffed inmate by sworn corrections officers is egregious," Williams said. "Every inmate who is held in our prisons deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."
The officers surrendered to authorities Wednesday and were suspended without pay pending the trial. There was no information available as to whether they had obtained lawyers who could comment on the charges in their behalf.