Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NY - Jail beating caught on tape by officer (Craig Strizzi) and inmates (Matthew Cahn & Lauterio Santos)

Craig Strizzi
Original Article

This happens a lot more than the public knows about, and anybody who has been in jail / prison can tell you that, but you will never see it because police protect their own.

We are sick and tired of the media, politicians and others making police officers look like saints when many of them are corrupt.

Officers should be given psychiatric evaluations every year or so to see if they are okay, because when you have to deal with criminals on a daily basis, it gets to you and you eventually view everyone as less than human and a criminal.


By Bryan Fitzgerald

COLONIE - "We're going to thump him."

That's what Craig Strizzi, a veteran correction officer at the Albany County jail, allegedly told two inmates Wednesday afternoon just before he enlisted them to join him in beating another inmate in the jail's recreation yard.

Statements from Strizzi (PDF), the victim and the two inmates charged Monday in the beating shed light on the alleged plot, the lengths Strizzi is accused of going to in an effort to cover up the attack and how it unfolded.

"We both talked about how we hated child molesters," Matthew Cahn, one of the inmates charged in the beating, said in his statement to investigators. Strizzi, Cahn and Lauterio Santos are accused of attacking [name withheld], a 20-year-old Albany man held at the jail on charges he raped an 8-year-old boy in Albany's Lincoln Park. "I told Strizzi I would like to get a shot at getting [name withheld] if I could do it without getting into trouble."

In the days before the attack, [name withheld], who is in a mental health ward at the jail, had been acting erratically, screaming from his cell and urinating on himself, Cahn said.

"Everyone on the tier was basically fed up with what was going on," Cahn said. "I had talked to Officer Strizzi about ([name withheld]) and asked him what could be done."

"Don't worry," Strizzi allegedly told Cahn. "I'm going to take him out to rec later and freeze him out."

Cahn explained that "freezing out" meant Strizzi was going to lock [name withheld] in the indoor recreation yard by himself and open the roof doors to the cold air. The average temperature Wednesday was 35 degrees, according to National Weather Service records.
- And this shows that by putting an inmate outside and opening the doors, other officers know about it, and tolerate the corruption!

Strizzi made good on his promise and locked [name withheld] out in the cold, Cahn said, but [name withheld] began to taunt Strizzi from the chilly recreation yard, grabbing his genitals, licking the glass doors and cursing Strizzi's name.

That's when Strizzi, according to Cahn, plotted the attack.

Strizzi found Cahn and Santos and told them he would make it look like [name withheld] attacked him.

"Strizzi showed me a blind spot next to the rec room door where the cameras couldn't see," Cahn said. "Strizzi said that we could put [name withheld] up to the wall there and that it would not be on camera."

Strizzi, a correction officer at the jail for 15 years, apparently miscalculated. What happened next was all captured on security tape, Sheriff Craig Apple said.

Strizzi told Cahn to act like he was on the phone. As Strizzi was letting [name withheld] out of the yard, he yelled, "So you want to swing at an (expletive) CO?"

It was Cahn's cue to hang up the phone and run over. When he got there, he said, Strizzi had [name withheld] pinned up against a wall.

Everyone took turns: Cahn landed punches to [name withheld]'s forehead and one of his eyes; Strizzi with blows to [name withheld]'s chest and stomach; Santos ran over and got shots in to the side of [name withheld]'s head and ribs.

"That's enough; take him down," Strizzi yelled out a minute into the beating, according to Cahn.

Strizzi handcuffed [name withheld] and sent a radio call to his colleagues.

"I sat inmate [name withheld] against a wall and called for a sergeant," Strizzi initially told investigators. In his statement, Strizzi said that [name withheld] had swung an elbow at him as [name withheld] left the rec yard.

"[name withheld] would not comply and continued to struggle," Strizzi said. "At the conclusion of this event, no injuries were reported."

Apple, who has seen the footage of the attack, said [name withheld] suffered black eyes, cuts and bruises and never fought back or swung at Strizzi.

"Never once does ([name withheld]) even try to defend himself," Apple said.

In his statement, [name withheld] said the three men taunted him with sex offender calls during the attack.

"I never raised my hands at all to do anything to Officer Strizzi, but he kept saying I swung at him," [name withheld] said. "I never swung at anyone during the entire thing. All I did was get hit."

Cahn, 34, and Santos, 46, were arraigned in Colonie Town Court Monday night on felony assault, unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy charges. Bail was set at $10,000 cash for Santos. No bail was set for Cahn. Both men remain in jail.

Strizzi was charged Friday with felony unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy, official misconduct, making a punishable false written statement and misdemeanor assault.

Though all three men participated in the beating, Apple explained that state law automatically elevates the assault charges against the inmates to a felony because they were incarcerated at the time of the attack.

Strizzi, who is out on bail, has been suspended without pay. Apple said Strizzi has no other incidents on his record.

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