by Gary Hunter
Video surveillance cameras captured jail guard Gaynel Rumer walking briskly past a cell where a prisoner was being beaten and tortured without ever looking inside. According to a lawsuit filed by Jamal Hunter the sheriff’s deputy actually encouraged the attack because he did not like the way Hunter would tease him. Several prisoners testified that they listened to Hunter scream until he lost consciousness as he was beaten and had his genitals scalded with hot water. Some who testified say they are still haunted by Hunter’s screams of agony.
According to Hunter’s suit he lived on a cell block controlled by gang members who brewed illegal alcohol and dealt in various other illicit activities. Hunter was singled out for retaliation because he supposedly snitched on his attackers and talked about them behind their backs. Other cell block residents say that Rumer often smelled of alcohol and would share personal information about other prisoners with the gang members. According to testimony, when Rumer did not initiate conflicts between prisoners on the block he would often ignore them and let combatants fight out their differences.
Rumer denies all allegations against him. According to his attorney Thomas Rice, “The Denver Sheriff’s Department did a very thorough investigation into this, and none of this stuff that is now being claimed came out. This idea that Rumer caused this is just not right. The idea there was this long period of screaming that went ignored is totally untrue.”
But an independent review by Denver’s Office of Independent Monitor showed that over a two and a half year period 54 grievances fell into the “serious” category which should have automatically triggered investigations by the internal affairs bureau (IAB). Only nine were actually investigated. Hunter’s was not one of them.
Even Rumer’s supervisor, Sgt. Karolina Sich, does not believe that Rumer is totally innocent in. She refers to the “rapid pace passing the cells” in the surveillance videos to make her point.
“I don’t believe anybody could do a fair observation, even just by passing that fast, to see what was going on,” said Sich. “And then with the lights being off, you can’t really – you can’t hardly see anything, (sic) even in the daylight hours, inside those eight-man pods.” She went on to admit that Rumer’s possible involvement had occurred to her.
Hunter says he told Rumer about the imminent attack 15 minutes before it happened. He said that the guard’s response was to offer to turn off the lights.
Department spokesman Major Frank Gale would not officially comment stating “We’ve got to wait for our day in court.”
Source: Denver Post
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