Two Guards Accused Of Beating An Inmate Are Found Not Guilty
Published January 3rd, 2014
OCALA - The trial for two Marion county jail guards accused of beating an inmate has come to an end. Both men were charged with battery and jurors found the officers not guilty.
Guards have a duty to keep order in the jail, but to what extent? While the state argues it was a vicious horrible attack. The defense team claims nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Officer Richard smith and Officer Dustin Lay of Marion County were on trial for beating inmate Donald Kizzart on September 30th 2013. Only one of the two guards took the stand, Officer Smith.
Defense Attorney: “During this incident in the Robers area did you ever kick or punch inmate Kizzart?”
Officer Smith: “Absolutely not sir.”
Defense Attorney: “Did you observe Deputy Lay either punch or kick inmate Kizzart?”
Officer Smith: “No sir."
Officer Smith made it a point that Officer Janet Lucky who testified that she witnessed the beating did not get along with officer lay, making her testimony biased. "It's been appearing to me recently that there was something wrong there. Officer lucky didn't seem to like-- for a lack of a better word, didn't seem to like officer lay. She didn't communicate well with him. Something, something was wrong," Officer Smith.
There is no video evidence that shows the beating, because the part of the jail where the incident allegedly happened does not capture surveillance footage. However, the state claims that the guards knew that before acting in wrongdoing.
State Attorney Pete Birgham: “You worked there for two years sir, haven't you?”
Officer Smith: “Yes sir.”
State Attorney Pete Birgham: “And you've watched those cameras on those monitors for over two years haven't you?
State Attorney Pete Birgham: “You know what those cameras don't cover, don't you?”
Officer Smith: “Yes sir.”
State Attorney Pete Birgham: “There's no supposing to it.
Officer Smith: “No I guess not."
But at the same time, one of the defense attorneys pointed out that Officer Smith's uniform was intact after the alleged beating-- as shown in surveillance video. In fact, that his glasses were still resting on his shirt.
Defense Attorney: "Were they hanging from your shirt collar before you escorted inmate Kizzart out of the medical pod and into the Robers area?
Officer Smith: “Yes sir they were.”
Defense Attorney: "And where were they after this alleged incident when you guys were walking around again in the medical pod?"
Officer Smith: "In the same spot, hanging off my shirt.
Defense Attorney: Had they fallen to the ground at any point?"
Officer Smith: "No sir."
While it is okay for a correctional officer to apply physical force on an inmate when it is reasonable-- it was up to this jury of 4 men and 4 women to decide if this incident occurred and to what extent.
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