They call it the “boom-boom room.”
That, inmate Michael Cook says, is how officers at Lumberton Correctional Institution referred to the room where they frequently beat prisoners.
Officers at the state prison south of Fayetteville took one inmate there three months ago, though he had done nothing to harm officers, Cook said.
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By the time the beatings were done, the inmate was cut, badly bruised and bleeding from his ear, said Mimi O’Brien, the injured prisoner’s mother.
“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” said O’Brien, who asked that her son not be named because she fears for his safety.
In the U.S., you have the right to be safe, even if you’re in prison.
Mimi O’Brien, the mother of an inmate who she says was beaten and kicked by prison officers
O’Brien’s son, who has been in prison for drug offenses since last year, was in the restroom on Feb. 29 when an officer accused him of flushing a contraband cigarette down the toilet, Cook said.
Then, according to Cook and another inmate who was nearby at the time, the officer put handcuffs on O’Brien’s son and began to search him.
Then the officer and a sergeant repeatedly slammed the inmate’s face and head against walls – and maced him, according to the two inmate witnesses, who wrote affidavits to document what happened.
The two inmates said O’Brien’s son was doing nothing to resist officers. The two were among six inmates who O’Brien said called her to report what they saw.
The officers then took the inmate to the “boom-boom room,” which is not monitored by surveillance cameras, Cook said. There, O’Brien said, officers repeatedly kicked him in his head, face and groin while he lay handcuffed on the ground.
Under state prison policy, officers are prohibited from using force solely in response to verbal provocation. “An officer shall not strike or attempt to strike an inmate who has abandoned his/her resistance or who is effectively restrained,” the policy states.
State officials have completed an investigation into the incident, but they have not yet determined whether they will take action against any prison employees, according to Keith Acree, a prison spokesman.
In an email to the Observer, Acree wrote that “there’s nothing else we’re able to say” about the case.