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Inmates: Guard murdered prisoner

Investigators are still seeking answers in connection with the alleged wrongful death of a Wake County inmate, but new information could prove useful in the civil case associated with the man's demise. Authorities have not yet released the 40-year-old decedent's formal cause of death, but an attorney for the man's family claims that the victim died from catastrophic injuries.

Authorities report that the man was taken to the Wake County jail on May 28 for misdemeanor drinking charges. He was accused of drinking at the public bus station in downtown Raleigh. An outstanding warrant also existed, accusing the man of possession of drug paraphernalia.

After the man's arrest, he got into a physical confrontation with an officer at the jail. Even though the official report in the case indicates that both men were injured, some inmate witnesses claim that the officer was never struck during the altercation. A 37-year-old fellow inmate, who had been booked into the jail on the same day as the decedent, submitted a three-page letter explaining what happened during the fight. That man reports that the decedent was unnecessarily provoked by the detention officer. That officer then used excessive force to subdue the man. Other witnesses corroborate this story.

The officer is about 6 feet, 3 inches tall. The decedent was just 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He weighed just 145 pounds compared to the guard's 300-pound frame. The guard is accused of smashing the man into the floor headfirst, grabbing him by the neck and punching him. The inmates claim there was an atmosphere of intimidation at the facility that prevented them from speaking up or attempting to stop the assault.

In this case, the decedent's family members could seek financial compensation from the jail and perhaps even the local government. This compensation could be used to pay for medical costs, lost income and other tangible claims, as well as intangibles such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consort.

www.charlotteobserver.com, "Inmates who witnessed jailhouse confrontation say officer used excessive force" Thomas McDonald, Jul. 04, 2013

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