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Ex-jailer gets 2 years for assaulting handcuffed and mentally-ill inmate

A former Richland County corrections officer was sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting an handcuffed and mentally-ill inmate who couldn't understand his instructions.
A former Richland County corrections officer was sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting an handcuffed and mentally-ill inmate who couldn't understand his instructions.Stock Photo

A South Carolina corrections officer kicked and twisted the arm of a handcuffed inmate who was mentally ill and couldn't understand his instructions.

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced the former officer to two years in prison and three years of supervised released, according to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in Columbia.

Officials said Mr. Robin Smith, 38, pleaded guilty to violating the pre-trial detainee’s civil rights in the incident that happened in 2012.

On Feb. 11, Mr. Smith was working as a corrections officer at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center when he used unreasonable and unprovoked force against an inmate with mental illness, federal officials said in a news release.

During a routine search of the victim’s cell, Mr. Smith twisted the victim’s wrist and arm and kicked him in the upper body, federal officials said.

During the assault, the victim was lying on the floor of the cell with one hand cuffed, was not combative, and posed no threat to the jailer, they said.

“What Robin Smith did was wrong,” U.S. Attorney Mr. Bill Nettles for the District of South Carolina said.

“At the base level, Mr. Smith kicked a man around who was so mentally ill he could not understand or follow the directions Smith was giving him," Mr. Nettles said. "No just society can allow that kind of conduct on the part of a corrections officer to go unpunished.”

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