The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation recently arrested an administrator of a maximum security prison outside of Charlotte, charging him with one count of common law obstruction of justice. The charges stem from a former corrections officer’s statement that the warden had ordered her to destroy a video that was key to her investigation of a fight at the facility.
The officer stated that she was reviewing the footage to determine if assault charges against the prisoners were appropriate. The footage also showed another officer using excessive force against inmates during the fight. She said the warden told her “not to put the video in the felony file and to destroy it.” It was basically a cover-up, she said.
She did not destroy the video. Instead, she reported the warden’s instructions to the SBI.
The fight in question occurred in November 2009. According to a representative from the state Department of Corrections, four inmates were charged for their part in the incident that started when inmates assaulted members of the prison staff.
The representative stated that no corrections staff have been charged for their involvement in the melee. She added that all of the footage had been provided to law enforcement, and an internal investigation of the allegations against the warden is under way.
The whistleblower said she was harassed by supervisors at the prison after she’d talked to the SBI. Last week, she resigned her position.
These are not the first charges of excessive force at the facility, nor is this the first scandal. The allegations against the warden only add to the prison’s reputation as the toughest place in North Carolina to serve time.
Source: News & Observer, “Officer alleges prison cover-up by warden,” Ames Alexander and Michael Biesecker, 04/21/11