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Connecticut DOC Settles Prisoner’s Brutal Beating By Ten Guards For $500,000

Connecticut DOC Settles Prisoner’s Brutal Beating By Ten Guards For $500,000

The Connecticut Department of. Corrections (CDC) settled for $500,000 the civil rights complaint brought by a prisoner who was brutally assaulted by ten CDC guards solely for their sadistic pleasure. While the settlement stipulates “no admission of liability,” the horror story of the beatings leaves scant room for envisaging otherwise.

Robert Joslyn was formerly incarcerated at CDC’s Northern Correctional Institution. In a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, he sued guards Patrick Maia, Brian Bradway, James Yelinek, Gerald Hines, Shane Maloney, Robert Pepe, Sean Guimonod, Steven Congelos, Juan Melendez and Steven Lash for having viciously, sadistically and brutally beaten him on several occasions in 2004.

In March 2004, Joslyn noticed that NCI guards were routinely calling fake “code blues” (emergency code for prison riot) solely to permit the responding guards to assault prisoners in retaliation. Joslyn asked that he be transferred “because they’re going to kill me.” Joslyn knew what he was talking about, having already been assaulted by NCI guards and recently threatened with more. Later that day, several guards came to his cell, falsely calling him a “snitch” and “child molester” while broadcasting, “we’re gonna call a code blue on you.” When threatened by more guards over the next several hours, he drafted a misconduct complaint. Two hours later, a guard saw this, entered the cell and crumpled it up. Joslyn’s cell was shaken down; his pen and CDC rules book were taken.
When two guards observed him writing another complaint, they threatened, “We’ll show you how to write. We’re coming soon. Get ready.” One guard falsely wrote Joslyn up for making threats against the guard, when the opposite was true.

The next morning, ten guards entered Joslyn’s cell. Joslyn was grabbed by the neck and slammed against the wall while handcuffed. One guard urged another, “spit on me, so we can set him up.” Another threatened to “fuck you up and mace you.” All ten guards’ movements were recorded on the in-house video monitor. Fearing an imminent attack, Joslyn broke the sprinkler head in his cell and flooded it. The guards returned with gas masks and a dog and maced Joslyn through the food tray slot, then rushed him.

Nine of the ten picked Joslyn off his bed and slammed his body and head on the floor.
They held him face down in the 16” of water so he could not breathe, while continuing to pound his face and head on the floor with their fists. Guard Maia kicked Joslyn’s face and body while he was still submerged, turning his face into a bloody pulp. They then picked Joslyn up and took him, in full restraints, into a shower cell, where they beat him more. After roughly strip searching him, they took him to the medical unit. The doctor ordered his transfer to the outside hospital emergency room. When the doctor asked “what happened,” he was told to keep his mouth shut. Notwithstanding being sewed up and treated, Joslyn suffered permanent facial scarring.

A CDC investigative report concluded that NCI guards had used “excessive force” and “failed to follow proper procedures and protocols,” and that the use of force on Joslyn “was planned.” The report also found Maia “less than truthful” when queried on the melee. NCI records showed that Maia had been earlier disciplined for brutally beating another prisoner. It is not known what discipline, if any, the guilty guards suffered here.
Faced with the video recordings, CDC agreed to settle the complaint in August 2007, before trial. Joslyn was represented by Bridgeport attorney Antonio Ponvert III. See: Joslyn v. Murphy, U.S.D.C. (D. Conn.) Case No. 3:07CV305(JCH).

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Related legal case

Joslyn v. Murphy