Florida Department of Corrections Officers Arrested for Beating, Cover Up

This post was submitted by Spencer Udell, via the CopBlock.org submissions page.

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Date Of Incident: 07/15/2015
Officers Involved: Justin Clemons, Cody Gabbard, Adrian S. Hill
Contact Number: 850-488-5121

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Former Corrections Officer Cody Gabbard

In Lake City, Florida, a prison guard and a former prison guard at Columbia Correctional Institution were arrested on multiple felony charges in connection with an attack on an inmate last month. The two officers are being accused of planning an attack on inmate Nate Evans and submitting and falsifying reports to justify the use of OC spray as well as their unneeded use of force.

Officer Justin Clemons and Officer Cody Gabbard were booked into the Baker County Jail Wednesday on charges of falsifying official records, battery on an inmate, and conspiracy to commit battery on an inmate, according to a statement made by the Florida Department of Corrections. An arrest warrant was served on Gabbard at his home by the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, and Clemons was arrested by the Office of the Inspector General and the Union County Sheriff’s Office when he arrived to start his shift at the prison.

Nate Evans Florida Inmate Beating
Nate Evans

The two officers stated in their reports that the inmate spit on them and that order to gain control of the situation they needed to deploy OC spray as well as restrain him with the use of physical force. During an internal investigation by prison officials, a review of the prison’s CCTV cameras showed that this was not what happened. The officers fabricated their reports to justify committing the attack.

The FDOC said, “An investigation into the use of force incident remains open and active, despite the arrests.”

This is not the only recent incident in which the Florida Department of Corrections has either fired or has brought charges against one of its own. Officer Adrian S. Hill was arrested just a few weeks prior to this case on battery and falsifying records in connection with a July 23 altercation between Hill and 18-year-old inmate Phillip Alderman Jr. at Lake City Correctional Institution.

– Spencer Udell

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