State prison guard under investigation for allegedly punching inmate

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A state prison guard is under investigation after allegedly repeatedly punching an inmate.

The incident was recorded by another inmate.

A state corrections representative told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas the department is comparing the leaked cell phone video of the incident with internal security cameras inside Phillips State Prison.

In the cell phone video, apparently recorded last week, an unidentified guard can be heard warning an inmate to get back into his cell.

“He steps out of his cell to ask why he hasn’t been fed in 8 hours,” said Terri Wells with the Human and Civil Rights Coalition of Georgia.

When the inmate didn’t immediately comply, the guard moved in.

“The inmate’s human and civil rights are being violated,” Wells said. “It’s something we deal with on the daily.”

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A second inmate shot the video with what appears to be a contraband phone and emailed the video to the Human and Civil Rights Coalition of Georgia.

That’s when the coalition took it to authorities.

“The Georgia Department of Corrections give them guidelines for use of force. And all those guidelines were neglected in this incident,” Wells said.

“When these things do happen, we have a responsibility to investigate thoroughly,” said Gwinnett County District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson.

Austin-Gatson said it’s too early to tell if any charges will be filed against the guard.

A state corrections department representative said it will be meeting with Austin-Gatson to discuss the case.

“We will be doing something on it once we know what exactly happened,” Austin-Gatson said.

It’s not known if the inmate involved was injured. State corrections did not answer that question or whether or not the guard involved was still on the job, when Thomas asked.