Inmate assaulted in jail

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an alleged assault that occurred in the Escambia County Detention Center last week.

Sheriff Grover Smith confirmed his department is investigating an incident.

Smith said an inmate reported the incident.

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“We had a report of an assault at the jail,” Smith said. “The inmate was examined by the medical staff at the jail and taken to the emergency room and treated by a doctor.”

Smith said he was returned to the jail, and the evidence collected at the hospital was put into case evidence.

Smith said the victim has been taken to another facility.

“We make that determination based on the facts of each case,” he said. “We decided to air on the side of caution.”

Smith would not comment on which facility the inmate was moved to, citing the safety of the inmate.

The sheriff also said the alleged perpetrators have been placed in lockdown.

He does not expect warrants to be issued in this case, but rather for the charges to go before an Escambia County grand jury.

“Right now, all involved are in jail,” he said. “No one is going anywhere. So, there is no danger to the public. The DA has been notified, and since it was inmate-on-inmate, we are handling internally.”

Family members contacted The Brewton Standard several times about the incident and the alleged victim’s sister posted detailed allegations on social media.

“You see he was sexually assaulted by five men,” Amanda Merritt said. “(My brother) works on the road crew and these five men (were) bullying him to bring in prison contraband left on the roadside.”

She went on to say that her brother reported threats to correctional officers and requested to be separated from other inmates who were allegedly threatening him, but she said said he was not moved.

Smith said that evidence and eyewitnesses show that the incident was all centered around contraband.

“The evidence we have says it’s all a ruse over contraband,” he said.