Updated: Thursday, 23 Feb 2012, 10:19 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 23 Feb 2012, 7:16 PM EST
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A surveillance video from inside the Erie County Holding Center could be the lynch pin for a case of alleged inmate abuse.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office fought the release of video of the jailhouse altercation. Was it a case of excessive force by jail deputies? Or is this simply evidence of the challenges faced by those deputies every day on the job?
Marquez Mack is suing Erie County, saying deputies abused him inside his cell at the Erie County Holding Center back in January of 2010.
One of Mack's attorneys, Nan Haynes, said, "It shows a handcuffed man, defenseless, unable to hit anyone or hurt anyone, being manhandled by six sheriff's deputies."
Haynes wants you to be the judge. You can watch the full video of the incident with this story. She is one of two lawyers representing Mack in a federal civil rights case. She claims excessive force was used against her client.
"It's wrong that even if someone is a prisoner, even if they have been accused of a crime, even if arguably, they are not cooperating, there is no justification for manhandling them and slamming their head against the wall," argued Haynes.
Deputies inside the Holding Center have come under fire time and time again when it comes to the use of excessive force. But experts say there's a fine line and a jury would need to keep an open mind when it comes to the facts.
News 4 Legal Analyst Terry Connors explained, "You've got to look at this in the context of all the surrounding facts and most importantly, all the witnesses who've made their own personal observations."
Connors says a jury will decide if the officers acted reasonably and objectively based on what led up to this interaction. But he did point to some key frames in the video.
"You'll see there are some factors that need to be plugged into that equation: he's handcuffed, you see he is handcuffed, that's something for the jury to consider. There is some struggle in the beginning of this video tape. That's something to consider for the other aspect of the case, for the defense. What's necessary to quell that disturbance?" Connors said.
The video was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by News 4. The sheriff's office declined to comment as the case is ongoing. Mack's attorney says the federal case is still in the beginning stages.