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Sun Feb 16, 2014, 09:07 PM

 

The Public Eye: Confidential documents cite interference in prison death review

Source: The Sacramento Bee

As California prison officials began looking into the September death of a breathing-impaired inmate who had been pepper-sprayed by a guard, they found themselves facing unusual interference and oversight from above, according to documents from an internal corrections investigation obtained by The Sacramento Bee.

A corrections psychologist whose duties included a review of the Sept. 7 death of 35-year-old Joseph Duran complained she was told to delete information she had obtained about the death and, in one instance, to remove a reference to the use of pepper spray, according to transcripts of interviews conducted in recent weeks by internal affairs investigators with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The transcripts, labeled confidential because they are part of an internal affairs probe, show that at least three prison guards are under investigation for “dishonesty” in connection with Duran’s death, including the officer who pepper-sprayed Duran on Sept. 6. That officer reported that he had done so from a distance of 6 feet, but later changed his story to say he had done so from 2 to 3 feet, the transcripts show.

The transcripts also disclose details about how the guard used the pepper spray after seeing his sergeant silently nod at him, and how a nurse who found the inmate unconscious hours later called for help from guards but could not get them to immediately open the cell so she could try to revive Duran.



Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/16/6161803/confidential-documents-cite-interference.html

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