Prison guards wearing gas masks douse mentally ill inmate’s face with pepper spray | RedCowHills
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A horrifying video has revealed the brutal, state-condoned treatment of a mentally ill inmate at one California prison where guards douse the man in pepper spray, leaving him screaming in pain and begging for it to stop.
The tape was released on Thursday by a federal judge as part of a lawsuit brought on behalf of 30,000 prisoners seeking a ban on the practice.

Pepper-spraying is an official method at California State Prison in Corcoran to remove troubled prisoners from their cells after all other tactics fail.

In one tape from July 2012, a screaming, prisoner is doused in pepper spray five times in the 30 minutes that it takes six guards, wearing hazard suits, gas masks and helmets to pin him down and strap him to a gurney.

Throughout the ordeal, the prisoner appears highly distressed and in pain, screaming: ‘Somebody help me'; ‘You’re choking me’ and ‘I can’t breathe’.

He can be heard retching along with prison guards who also cough from the volume of pepper spray used.

The inmate, whom was deemed psychotic by his prison psychiatrist and in need of emergency medication, reportedly had hours of discussions with officers before the extreme measure was taken.

According to the LA Times, psychiatrist Dr Ernest Wagner told the court: ‘When we order involuntary medications, the inmate is told they will receive medications whether they like it or not.’

He said the 31-year-old needed the medication to save his life. The prisoner was suicidal, according to Dr Wagner, hearing voices and eating his feces. A court ordered that the man be medicated.

Hearings are being held by District Judge Lawrence Karlton on the practice in Sacramento. The judge ordered the release of six tapes which are created by law as part of the prison practice.

The tapes were released without the prisoners or staff involved being identified.

Lawyers for inmates say that the pepper-spraying reveals extreme force at Corcoran and abuse of patients who are mentally ill and unable to understand what is going on.

The prisoner shown in the video above at times appears bewildered and to have little grasp of the situation.

He repeats: ‘I don’t know what you’re doing'; Why is this happening’ and ‘I don’t want to be executed’ at several points in the 30-minute tape.

After he is injected with drugs, the prisoner is kept strapped down to the bed under doctor’s orders.

The 31-year-old’s sentence was increased by three months because he refused to follow orders.

In November 2012, he was moved to a psychiatric prison where he improved, according to court records. He was paroled in February of this year.

Prison authorities say that the procedure is necessary as a last resort to have some prisoners take medication or move cell.

State witnesses, including California’s director of adult prisons, said that the videotape shows guards following proper procedure and that the method is safer than physical force.

In a statement to MailOnline, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Assistant Secretary Deborah Hoffman said: ‘Use of force is always a last resort for our staff, and cell extractions are typically done to keep inmates from harming themselves or others and to ensure that they are placed in a more appropriate mental health setting.

‘What you don’t see on these videos is the hours of discussions that take place between the inmate and clinical staff before a cell extraction is ordered and the video camera starts rolling.

‘As we are always looking to improve our policies, CDCR is revising use of force policies to limit the duration of pepper spray applications, the total applications and the minimum waiting period between applications in non-emergency situations.’



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