Thursday, November 10, 2005


Prison guard dismissed after inmate's shocking

Mifflin County, Pennsylvania - A Mifflin County Prison guard has been fired and is being investigated by state police for allegedly shocking a prisoner while the inmate was tied to a chair.

Neither prison officials, state police, nor Mifflin County commissioners would release the name of the former prison guard.

On Sept. 11, guards were trying to forcibly remove the inmate, Dustin Zimmerman, 19, of Lewistown, and his cell mate from their cell, said prison Warden Bernie Zook. The two were kicking at their cell door and the guards did not want them to damage the electric door locks.

"Once the inmate had been removed from the cell he was placed in a restraint chair," state police said in a statement Saturday. "At this point the inmate was allegedly shocked with an electronic body immobilizing device without apparent provocation."

Zimmerman was not injured, Zook said.

Known as an EBIT, the device has two probes that are placed against the victim's skin, and then the electric shock is administered.

"It covers a real small area," Zook said. "It's nothing near as severe as a TASER."

The TASER, which is also used by law enforcement, fires probes attached to wires, then sends an electric shock over the wires to the victim.

Zook said his staff heard about the incident the next day and suspended the guard without pay pending an investigation and disciplinary hearing.

After a hearing, county officials fired the guard Sept. 23.

"We train officers annually on the use of force," Zook said. "They know this is excessive force and unauthorized use of force."

Zook said the guard should have been familiar with use of force rules because he worked as a Juniata County Prison guard before coming to Mifflin County three years ago.

Mifflin County Commissioner Susan McCartney said she would not release the guard's name because of pending legal issues.

"If the state police aren't going to give it out, I'd rather not," McCartney said.

Zook said Zimmerman remains in the county prison in a restricted housing unit.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?

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