Cellphone video shows a group of Florida correctional officers beating a Black man on the prison yard for more than 5 minutes in an incident that a prison official said could lead to criminal charges for the guards involved.
The video shot July 8 through a window screen at Lake Correctional Institution shows at least five officers huddled around an inmate later identified by other inmates as Otis Miller.
One guard can be seen punching Miller more than 12 times, according to the video footage.
One of the inmates speaking during the recording suggested to other inmates that they do something to stop guards from killing Miller.
“Hey man we need to say something, let them know we watching bro fo they go kill this mother——- man, man” the inmate said.
“This is why we’re in fear of our life,” the man who shot the footage said.
He later identified himself as Josh SirTrap Polulech in a separate video he posted on Facebook Saturday following his release from prison.
Polulech is asking everyone who sees the recording, already viewed more than 34,120 times, to share it.
He called the beating “horrible” in a series of Facebook posts and video advocating for Miller.
“All I want, is justice for Otis Miller and his family,” he said in one Facebook caption. “It doesn’t matter if you’re doing time in prison, you shouldn’t be beat down for over 10 minutes all cause you ran.”
“He got caught with cigarettes and ran. That’s all,” Polulech said in the same post. “Otis is a non violent drug offender. Hes not a child molester, hes not a sexual predator, hes not a violent inmate.”
The video attracted the attention of the Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch, who described it as “deeply disturbing” in a statement to the Jacksonville Times-Union.
“We have zero tolerance for officer abuse or misconduct for any reason,” Inch said in the statement. “The actions of these individuals will not be tolerated.”
He added, the department’s Office of Inspector General has launched an “immediate investigation” and that all officers identified would be placed on no-inmate-contact status during the investigation.
The injured inmate will be relocated to another facility, the Times-Union reported.
“Those found participating in any level of abuse, or failing to properly report abuse, will be subject to administrative and criminal charges,” Inch said.