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A Somerset prison guard dies after being kicked by inmate

A Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) guard died on Monday, Feb. 26, after having suffered a head injury as a result of being kicked repeatedly by an inmate 11 days earlier on Feb. 15. Now the DOC has removed the work boots that are believed to have caused the officer’s fatal injuries from its commissary shelves.

On the day in which the Somerset State Prison guard was attacked, he’d apparently asked a 22-year-old convicted murder there to take down a towel that he’d been using to obscure the view into his bunk. Instead of doing so, the inmate instead walked up to the officer and kicked his head while wearing his work boots.

The inmate reportedly continued to strike the officer again and again as he attempted to recover until he no longer was responsive.

DOC officials note that another prison officer came to the injured officer’s aid, but that the inmate lashed out on him as he attempted to do so. Surveillance video reportedly captures both attacks on film.

On the same day of the attack, the inmate was charged with assault. His charges were later upgraded homicide. He’s due to be arraigned on the latest charge on March 9.

Instances in which hard-soled work boots have been used to injure or kill others in prison settings in the United States aren’t unheard of. One case heard in 2012 by a federal appeals court panel centered around one inmate injuring another one while wearing his steel-toed boots in his cell in Illinois. Another sentencing in a case in which one inmate crushed the skull of another was adjudicated in California just last month.

For now, Pennsylvania’s DOC has only stopped the sale of future pairs of boots to inmates at its state-run facilities. They haven’t yet taken any measures to remove the boots from those inmates who already have purchased them previously. There also aren’t any plans yet in place to require them to take off their boots before reentering their cell as occurs in New Jersey.

If you’ve suffered injuries on the job due to an unsafe work environment, then a Dauphin workers’ compensation attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in your case.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, “Prison work boot sales halted after guard kicked, killed,” Michael Catalini, Feb. 27, 2018


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