Lawmaker, groups up in arms over violent prison video

ATLANTA — A YouTube video of a disturbance inside a Georgia prison is getting people fired up. Members of a prisoners rights group and an inmate's family say they want answers.

It all revolves around a disturbing video activists said shows prison guards beating up prisoners.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant learned that one state lawmaker is stepping in.

State Sen. Donzella James joined the activists at the Capitol Tuesday over a video that is objectively ugly. The question is, does it show what the inmate's family members and their advocates claim it shows?

Prosecutors confirmed the video was shot by a Georgia Department of Corrections officer in December 2010 inside Smith State Prison in south Georgia.

“I couldn't believe it," James said.

Members of a prisoners’ rights group and inmates’ family members joined James outside the state Capitol Tuesday to demand answers.

"You can't just treat them inhumanely. These are human beings and you got to treat them humanely," said The Ordinary People Society pastor Kenneth Glasgow.

Glasgow's group recently posted heavily edited portions of the DOC original video on YouTube. They highlighted it with a white circle that he said are officers savagely beating several inmates who fought with the guards during a search for contraband. Glasgow also posted troubling pictures of inmates Kelvin Stevenson and Miguel Jackson taken after the altercation.

"His face looked like a baseball, with nothing but stitches in it," said Jackson’s brother, Laron Anderson.

Anderson echoed Glasgow's claims that guards beat Jackson and Stevenson with a hammer while handcuffed. While there is no mention of a hammer in the official prison log obtained by Channel 2 Action News, at one point in the video you can hear a female guard say, “Ooh lord, what he's got in his hands. It a damn hammer."

The DOC’s log showed at the hospital "…inmate Jackson stated that he was beat with a night stick."

Either way, James said something needs to be done.

“I want to make sure that if this is true, then something needs to be done immediately," James said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation did look into the claims and cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. But four inmates, including Jackson and Stevenson, have been indicted for their role in the altercation. Both the district attorney and the DOC declined our request for an interview because the cause is ongoing.