BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - An Erie County Sheriff's Sergeant and five deputies are beingbarred from the Holding Center amid suspicion of inmate abuse.
This involves an alleged incident back in mid-January at theHolding Center. An inmate claimed he was punched in the stomachwith as many as five jail staffers looking on.
A Sergeant and five deputies at the Holding Center are barredfrom coming to work, after an inmate claimed he was punched in thestomach by one of the deputies. No report was ever filed, but theSheriff told News 4 the investigation is concentrating on analleged inappropriate use of force.
"Our regulations prohibit ever striking an inmate unless the useof force is required. In a situation in which the use of force isrequired, there is a use of force report that has to be completed,"said Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard.
News 4 sources tell us the inmate was Stephen Heilmann, one ofthree men suspected of running an amateur meth lab on Grand Island.They were suspected of making drugs in a fish tank in their JenellDrive Home.
They were sent to the Holding Center on five thousand dollarsbail. Heilmann is no longer in the Holding Center. Sources say thepunch to the stomach did not cause serious injury.
The investigation comes in the wake of an inmate suicide in theHolding Center. 26-year-old Daniel Nye was found Saturday hangingin his cell by his shoe laces.
Erie County Attorney Cheryl Green said, "Certainly [taking awayan inmate's shoelaces] is something that we are presently lookingat, and we will be, I believe, taking some corrective action withrespect to that action in the very immediate future."
Getting back to the investigation of alleged inmate abuse, ifthe Sergeant and deputies are found guilty of inappropriate use offorce, the penalty could range to suspension or termination.Sheriff Howard told me termination would occur if the HoldingCenter staffers were lying about what actually happened.
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