Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another video raises questions about jail abuse

By: Mike Deeson

Tampa, Florida - It is the latest in what appears to be a violent confrontation between Hillsborough Detention deputies and an inmate.

In an instance from last May, a deputy grabbed Charlana Irving’s arm, put it behind her back and appeared to twist it. Then he and a female deputy remove the woman from her cell.

X-rays showed that Irving, who was arrested for DUI, had a broken arm.

"As [the deputy] was beating me, I was screaming, 'How can you beat me up? You can't beat me up,'" Irving says.

It is the latest complaint leveled against the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. First there was the wheelchair dumping incident of quadriplegic Brian Sterner. Then this week we discovered another video of a deputy violently tussling with Marcella Pourmoghani.

Although the Sheriff's office maintains Pourmoghani -- who had to be taken out of the jail in a stretcher -- was to blame for her incident, the state attorney office refused to charge her, After viewing the tape, the state attorney decided there was no evidence she did anything wrong.

Pourmoghani says, "These people have guns and they have badges. They are no joke, they will do what they want to do and your life is in their hands."

Because the release of the wheelchair video has caused a flood gate of complaints against central booking which were caught on tape, the sheriff's office is on the defensive on how it handles inmates at the Orient Road Jail.

Chief Deputy Joe Docobo says, "Sometimes you have to use force. That is the sad reality of this business."

While Docobo says the deputy in the latest case used only force that was necessary, Irving asks to only look at the tape and decide. And once again, questions are being raised about Hillsborough County's Jail, its deputies and the man who runs it all, Sheriff David Gee.

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