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Arbitrator: Prison Guards Took ‘Batting Practice’ On Inmate

January 4, 1994

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Two state prison guards took ″batting practice″ with their batons on a shackled inmate in a beating recorded by surveillance cameras, according to a state hearing officer.

″Words are truly inadequate to describe the wanton, vicious and barbaric spectacle captured on video,″ said state arbitrator William A. Babiskin.

Guards Korey Gordon and Edward Sharrow were fired following the Sept. 20 beating at the state prison in Comstock, 60 miles north of Albany.

Babiskin upheld their firings in a ruling last week. Two other guards who witnessed Jason McDade’s beating and initially filed false reports about the beating were suspended without pay.

According to state records, guards intervened after McDade got into a fight with other inmates in a prison yard.

McDade was shackled and removed. Then, surveillance cameras caught Gordon delivering a sharp blow to McDade’s head, Babiskin said.

Sharrow hit McDade three times in the legs and possibly the chest, the hearing officer said.

The officers filed reports claiming McDade resisted their efforts to take him into custody and that their force was justified. At a later hearing, Babiskin said, they recanted.

He agreed that Gordon and Sharrow, the two guards who took what he referred to as ″batting practice″ on McDade, should be fired.

McDade was held for observation in the prison’s infirmary following the beating. He was paroled in November on his burglary and forgery sentence and has filed a notice of intent to sue the state.

The videotape has not been made public. Prison officials have not decided whether it is confidential under state law, spokesman James Flateau said Tuesday.

There was no answer Tuesday at the home of the two fired guards.

Bob Lawson, a spokesman for the guards’ union, the Albany-based Council 82, declined to comment.

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