Rochester, N.Y. - An inmate who called both the Monroe and Ontario County Jails home for a time says he was beaten while in custody and called racial slurs.
Curtis Sullivan says he needed stitches over his eye, and still suffers migraines as a result.
“I just see the tears in his eyes, the emotion he had,” says his wife Diamond Sullivan. She says she never doubted his story that the injuries came not from inmates, but from jail deputies.
Attorneys for Ontario County call the claims “without merit.” But images captured on four security cameras may settle the dispute.
In the first clip, Sullivan who is shackled and handcuffed is being escorted through the secure underground parking area by one deputy while another stands by. The two exchange words while walking, then the inmate is forced into the wall.
“He had three stitches in his left eye,” Diamond Sullivan says of her husband’s injuries. The video is silent and you can’t hear what is said. But Sullivan points out her husband is already restrained in such a way that he is not a threat.
“He was defenseless, there was nothing he could do,” she says. “If there was any threat the other guard would have intervened.” The video shows the other guard opening the door, but otherwise not getting involved.
The video was taken on November 2010. After being booked and fingerprinted for crimes in Victor, inmate Sullivan was being transported back to the Monroe County Jail. Escorting him through the secure areas were two jail deputies from Ontario County.
Three other cameras show what happened once the group entered inside the processing area of the jail, also known as the sally port. Once inside, inmate Sullivan’s face is pressed up against the wall and held by the same guard as he walks down the hall. Another camera in another corridor shows a dazed man who is clearly off balance and falling as he walks.
The second jail deputy attempts to help steady the inmate. A third deputy – this one from Monroe County steps in. “After the Monroe County guy showed up they stopped,” says Diamond Sullivan. “It just brings tears to my eyes, watching this video is hard,” she adds.
Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero says he cannot comment on possible legal matters. Sullivan has filed a notice of claim that he intends to sue. Mike Rhinhardt of the Ontario County Attorney’s office says they have conducted a hearing and determined “All of the allegations against Ontario County have no merit.”
Sullivan says they will sue adding that the video speaks for itself. “Just because he’s incarcerated for doing something wrong doesn’t give them no right to beat him,” says his wife. “He faces his consequences by doing time in jail, they should have to face (theirs).”