BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A guard at the Erie County Holding Center has admitted he led the assault on an inmate inside the downtown Buffalo jail.
Thomas Thompson, 40, of Grand Island pleaded guilty on Thursday to deprivation of rights under color of law.
Prosecutors say in January of 2010, Thompson and other deputies got word of drugs hidden inside a cell in the Holding Center. Thompson approached the victim, demanding he give up information on the drugs. The inmate told Thompson and the other deputies the drugs were in a cell across the hall.
When deputies were unable to find the drugs, they returned to the victim's cell, where Thompson told the victim because he had lied, as punishment he was going to get punched in the gut and could pick the deputy who would deliver the blow. After pointing to a deputy, the inmate was punched.
Thompson faces a maximum of one year in prison when he's sentenced in September.
Currently, he's still employed as an Erie County Sheriff's deputy. Sheriff Tim Howard had fired Thompson, but an arbitrator ruled the sheriff had to rehire Thompson and demote him from Sergeant to deputy. Sheriff Howard appealed that decision to the State Supreme Court, but the judge upheld the arbitrator's ruling. It is unclear how Thompson's plea will impact his employment.
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