D.C. official denies jail guard beat Capitol riot suspect
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The head of Washington, D.C.’s Department of Corrections denies allegations that a jail guard “viciously and savagely” beat a Capitol riot suspect.
A lawyer for Ryan Samsel, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, claimed he was beaten so badly he had to have his jaw wired shut and may lose sight in one eye.
Samsel is accused of pushing over barriers and knocking down a police officer – causing her to suffer a concussion – during the riot.
Attorney Elisabeth Pasqualini told CBS D.C. affiliate WUSA-TV Samsel was “viciously and savagely” beaten by a corrections officer who zip-tied his hands first. She said she was only alerted to the alleged attack when two attorneys representing other defendants contacted her and said her client had gotten “a beatdown” by a guard and was in the hospital.
“He has definitely suffered serious injuries, including a shattered orbital floor, a broken orbital bone, his jaw was broken, his nose was broken,” Pasqualini said, adding that Samsel can’t see out of his right eye and may permanently lose vision in it.
But D.C. Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth says a department probe cleared its officer of any wrongdoing.
He wrote in a statement to WUSA that, “DOC has conducted an investigation into allegations made by an inmate regarding our correctional officers and found there was not any violent interaction between the inmate and any correctional officer. The results of our investigation have been submitted to the Department of Justice, which is conducting its own investigation.”
Booth also said, “The DC Department of Corrections takes the safety and well-being of all residents, staff, and contractors extremely seriously.”
Samsel has been in federal custody since his arrest in January on charges of forcibly assaulting or interfering with a federal agent, obstructing an official proceeding and obstructing an officer.
This week, another Capitol riot defendant, Ronald Sandlin, told a federal judge during a bail hearing that Samsel was one of a number of defendants in the case who had experienced violence at the hands of D.C. correctional officers.
Even before the alleged assault, Pasqualini said, Samsel was being held in lockdown for 23 hours a day and was having difficulty getting access to hygiene supplies and the shower. She said he’s since been moved to another jail facility but is still under lockdown.
Pasqualini said she reported the alleged assault to jail officials, who told her they were conducting an internal investigation. She said she also reported it to the FBI which, she said, told her it was also investigating.