By MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE
Last updated at 6:20 PM on 16th July 2009
In shocking CCTV footage of a prison riot, guards kicked and punched young inmates who were already in handcuffs.
Chaotic scenes were captured by surveillance video at the Juvenile Detention Centre in Jacksonville, Florida.
Mayhem broke out when an inmate broke the sprinkler system, causing a dorm to flood.
Minutes later, about 40 guards - some wearing riot gear - stormed the room. Most inmates can be seen putting their hands in the air and dropping to the floor, lying face down.
But as the footage shows, one juvenile, who sits on a bed alone without resisting, is slammed onto the floor by a warden.
One inmate is kicked as he lies on the ground and another is punched in the head after being handcuffed.
Two more inmates are kneed as they're walked out, despite already having been restrained.
The footage was released by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office which was called in to investigate the September 2008 incident.
Four correction officers have since been sacked amid claims they used unnecessary force.
The Sheriff described the actions of the prison guards as 'cheap shots' that were taken at the juveniles' expense.
'Inmates who were being escorted offered no resistance,' Sheriff John Rutherford said. 'It was completely unnecessary.'
'We had four officers who in their zeal over-reacted and used unnecessary force against some inmates who were handcuffed.
'I'm not going to tolerate that.'
After the chaos subsided, the inmates were seen lying motionless on the floor of another room. Each is handcuffed and some have their trousers around their knees.
Despite this, one officer is seen kicking an inmate, while another appears to step on his groin area.
'You see the tape. It's pretty clear,' Sheriff Rutherford said.
'Thankfully none of them were injured, but that doesn't remove the fact they were struck by officers.
'I'm glad the public sees these headlines because they understand that the men and women of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office are going to be professional, they're going to handle themselves accordingly.'