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This is a discussion on What would I do? in Correctional Nursing, part of Nursing Specialties ... I just watched the surveillance video of the savage, brutal, unjustified, cowardly beating death of...by tbrd450 May 29, '10I just watched the surveillance video of the savage, brutal, unjustified, cowardly beating death of inmate Jessie Lee Williams on YouTube. A gang of cowardly, badged thugs brutalized and tortued the man until he died. The surveillance video is now in the public domain. You can view it on YouTube. I am absolutely astonished that the calous disregard of this man's life was so easily accepted by everyone involved. While in the booking/intake area of the jail, the man is attacked and brutally tortured while people move about their business. Everyone seems so immune to the barbaric disregard and injustice of the environment. A correctional nurse is actually in the video appearing to glove up, almost reluctantly, at one point. The animals sprayed pepper spray under this guy's mask and then securly tightened around his neck. Then, as he naturally squirmed in pain, they proceeded to beat him to death for "resisting." This man was clearly never a threat to anyone in that room and, yet, his life was taken as if he were not even human.
9 correctional officers were convicted. The main ringleader got life in prison. All others got sentences measured in months. Unbelievable.
Ok, you are a correctional nurse in that intake area when, and as, this unfolds. What do you do?
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- May 31, '10 by work&playCALL 911! It's a crime in progress. Tell the 911 operator to send officers on code 3.
- May 31, '10 by work&play
- Quote from work&playYES! You get it. The minute the crime was committed -- the officer that attacks the arrestee as he is removing his shoes -- a call should have gone out that a crime is underway. Somebody in that room (God knows there were enough people in that room) should have done something. It is truly amazing that so many people either directly participated in the brutal beating and torture of another human being, or stood by and watched it happen with nothing to do but wait. wait. wait. wait .. BAM, POW, wait... wait... screams of pain!....BAM.....POW!....wait .... wait.....wait. Do you realize how long, from Jesse's perspective, that must have appeared to go on. In that type of situation, that is a lifetime. It was Jesse Lee Williams life.CALL 911! It's a crime in progress. Tell the 911 operator to send officers on code 3.
Did you notice how the "correctional officer" then hogtied him and "carried him like a suit case" (witness description in court). What you don't see, but it is in the transcript, is that the officer dropped him on his head while tied up like that -- twice. I'm sure he claimed it was accidental. wait....wait.....
I can't help but wonder what went through their minds as they laid their heads down on their pillows that night. Did they sleep peacefully, I wonder?
This whole thing mushroomed and it was investigated thoroughly from outside services ( I think the FBI ). It was learned that that there was a deliberate program in place there at that jail -- a conspiracy on the part of several jailers to routinely rough up the arrestees at booking. It was learned, for example, that one tactic was to take them into the shower and pick a fight with them -- instigate a fight in an otherwise compliance individual. Pull the person out of view of the surveillance camera and beat him up. Let him up, temporarily, to naturally try to defend himself and in so doing pull him back in view of the surveillance camera so that what is caught on video is the arrestee defending himself. Then use that footage to falsify the report and argue that he was resisting and combative.
Keep in mind something,... Jesse Lee Williams was there on a misdemeanor charge.
BAM...BAM... Pepper Spray.... "stop resisting!" BAM... BAM... "help!" ... nurse waiting...waiting... other COs ... mulling about.... waiting.... waiting.... BAM!
Subsequently, most sentences.... approx. 36 months.
- Quote from work&playWork&PLay,
Thank you for presenting this example. I couldn't imagine finding a more precise example that exemplifies the clear dichotomous consideration and intervention afforded two separate humans under attack (Jesse Lee Williams on the one hand, and this nurse on the other). Almost instantaneously, the correctional staff swarm this man who hits the nurse. She later said she wasn't even initially "angry," but more like "shocked." I will say this, the correctional staff in this particular clip appeared to be doing their jobs well -- they responded (it appears) with only that amount of force necessary to subdue the inmate. I must say, however, I do fear a little what will/did happen to this guy later when the cameras were not on him. I know we learned in here that he had, earlier in the day, been placed in 4pt restraints, forcibly injected with something, and well, obviously angry.
The nurse was very brave and she seemed to handle the situation very professionally. She was not injured. She appeared fine in the subsequent interview. Was she actually injured?
I would imagine she probably had expected the possibility of encountering angry young men when she hired on at the correctional facility. Nonetheless, the situation was well handled by everyone. You asked me what I would have done ? ... as whom? the nurse? the officers? Had I been the nurse, I would like to think that I would have handled the situation exactly as the nurse handled it. I would not have taken it personally, and I would have stepped back and let the officers subdue the inmate. However, there is maybe one thing I would have done that maybe she did not do: Afterward, I would have told the officers that the incident was over as far as I am concerned, and I would sincerely hope that no retalitory actions would be taken on my behalf. I am fine. I don't have a scratch on me. I'm a little nervous, but I know that officers are always close at hand to squelch any potential incident from getting out of hand and putting me in real danger. I would have filed whatever paperwork (disc rep, etc.) that was called for in this situation.
This inmate was clearly angry -- he was injected by force earlier in the day, he was in 4pt restraints earlier in the day -- he probably had already been pepper sprayed earlier in the day... he was a bit cranky.
Please compare that nurse's intervention with the intervention Jesse Lee Williams got. In case you need the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Z4ub2YFZY
Watch this and notice the people standing around... the people participating ... the people watching... the people enabling. They all had a fork in their life's road that day. All of them appeared to choose the wrong path. They now live with that.
What are your thoughts on why nobody did anything on behalf of Jesse Lee Williams?
- Jun 1, '10 by work&playI just think that people around don't know what to do...or don't want to know. They just freak out.
I would sugest, if you're afraid of making that 911 call from the facility. Walk/run to the parking lot, generate the phone call from the cell phone. Ask to respond to a crime in progress. Not that hard.
The nurses in the clip was badly bruised. The intervie took place when all the bruising covering her face was cleared.
- I agree. Otherwise decent people will stand by as a fellow human being is brutally beaten to death. But I happen to believe that those who swear an oath, choose to wear a uniform, and choose to put their lives on the line have a higher responsibility. They do not have permission to stand by, or pick and choose their own rules and when to apply them. At the very least they have to quickly, deliberately and without hestitation, intervene when the real bad guy(s) turns out to be their partner(s). It is outrageous when a jail booking area filled with staff -- officers, police officer, nurse -- becomes a stage for torture, abuse and death as it did for Jesse. Something is inherently wrong in that environment, something that is probably not just explained by people being afraid or uncertain. When I watched the brutalization of Jesse Lee Williams on that jail house surveillance video I sensed an environment of sadism premised on an "us" vs. "them" mob mentality that probably existed long before Jesse was brought in there. Jesse's death was the straw that broke the camel's back. I sense, however, the camel's back was heavily loaded down before it finally broke.
The main sicko charged (and later convicted) in that heinous and absurd display of inhumane treatment argued his case in court describing how he feared for his own life and only did what he did because he had to.
How much is never picked up on surveillance cameras? How much goes unreported? If we only see the tip of the iceburg, then how deep does it truly lie?
I believe that working in corrections can put one in the precarious position of having to guard against one's own potential slippery slope toward power intoxication and potential abuse. The Stanford Prison experiment (are you familiar with this? conducted in 1971) had shown that normal college students placed in the role of jailers and prisoners could amazingly quickly descend, if unchecked, into a dangerous mindset of "us" vs "them."
Interestingly, Professor Zimbardo himself allowed the experiment to continue too long because he was sort of inside the experiment himself and had trouble recognizing the inherent abuse underlying the behavior of the guards. He, himself, simply by watching and recording the activities each day became desensitized to the behavior. "In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress."
It took an outsider to come in and witness what was going on to immediately realize, point out, and ultimately insist that the experiment stop without delay. Later, looking back, professor Zimbardo recognized his own blindness to the abuse as he was so closely involved in monitoring and recording the daily activities. The graduate student (I believe it was grad student) who happened to witness the humiliation, degradation and abuse one afternoon for the first time knew instinctively that it was wrong and it needed to stop. She was the sensitive, realistic, view from outside peering into an environment in which a single, uncontested view of the "bad guys" was permitted to seed, cultivate and ultimately reign.
Re: the nurse. I did not know she was badly bruised. She seemed to handle it very well, and very bravely. I can see how staff can get very angry at these guys -- they lash out abruptly and seemingly as if they have no understandable root cause. Because of that, it becomes easy to assume they are inherently evil/bad and that, therefore, must be the cause. From there it is easy to then slide into an "us" vs "them" mentality. I happen to believe most violent criminals are made not born. Some are born, but for the most part they are forged over their years.
Unfortunately, far too many of guys go into the correctional facilities as non-violent criminals only to emerge later as seriously violent ones. The environment is far from conducive to logical rehabilitation, it often serves only in the reverse.
- Jun 1, '10 by work&playOur own human kind...and lets not forget the prisoners who make other prisoners their prisoners. Something along those lines. I can't think/spell tonight. I had a long day in corrections.
I just can't seem to let go. I took some days off ...and even thought of going back to my old job at a school district, but I miss corrections... so I returned today.
Lots of loveLast edit by work&play on Jun 1, '10
- Jan 31, '11 by pcradrnThe beating death of Jesse Lee Williams by prison guards was appalling! I hope to God that if I were ever in the position this nurse and the other bystanders were, that I would intervene. Watching this video made me think again about weather I would want to even be involved in correctional nursing. It is hard to believe that people stood by and watched this happen.
- Feb 1, '11 by Conqueror+I would have called to Lt on duty immediately and if they gave me any crap I would let them know that I would be calling the cops if they didn't intervene right away. After the inmate was safe I would then notify my nursing supervisor and immediately go home and I would not come back. I have seen nurses who report CO's get coded a "slow assist" when being attacked by an inmate. Not a situation I would wanna be in. Right is right though and I can get another job.