MIAMI — The Department of Corrections said Thursday that five prison employees have been charged with battery on an inmate, the latest in a string of incidents alleging inmate abuse and cover-ups at Florida prisons.
A sixth employee, a captain at Northwest Florida Reception Center in Chipley, was arrested on a charge of official misconduct after allegedly falsifying a report to cover-up the incident, authorities said. According to an arrest report, Captain James Kirkland planned a ‘takedown’ of 31-year-old prisoner Jeremiah Tatum while Tatum was being escorted from his cell to a decontamination shower after being sprayed with chemicals.
Kirkland told the five other officers that he would say Tatum spit in his face during the escort, which would signal the other officers to take him down. A video shows officers slammed Tatum face first into the concrete while he was in leg and hand restraints. Another officer jumped on Tatum’s legs and pinned the prisoner to the ground during the August 5 incident, according to the arrest report.