FBI investigating six Hunt Correctional officers for alleged inmate beating

Andrew Green agreen@postsouth.com

According to a 9News Investigators report, the FBI is investigating six officers at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center accused of allegedly beating an inmate.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections has since placed the six officers on administrative leave.

The alleged beating occurred earlier in January at the St. Gabriel prison facility, according to a WAFB report, and inmate John Harrold, 34, of Thibodaux, reached out to his family claiming he was beaten by officers and subjected to tear gas.

“Immediately upon learning of allegations of excessive force on an offender, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections launched an investigation, placed six corrections officers on administrative leave, and notified local law enforcement,” the department said.

The St. Gabriel Police Department initially investigated the case.  “We owe the family the truth,” St. Gabriel Chief of Police said in a WAFB interview.  “We owe this inmate’s family the truth.  From what I understand, they are the ones that brought forth the allegations and I can tell them that we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

Earlier in February, investigators learned that the case was turned over to the FBI.  Photographs of Harrold that show apparent injuries to his leg, foot and head were turned over.  According to a WAFB report, Ambeau said his department turned the case over to the FBI after determining that the case was so complex that he needed to ask for others to get involved in an effort to “leave no stone unturned.”

The case files include pictures, interviews and statements from 25 witnesses that include Hunt employees and inmates.  There is no estimate of how long the federal investigation might take.

“This case has been turned over to the FBI and we, for all intents and purposes, are out of it,” St. Gabriel Mayor Lionel Johnson.  “This will be a federal investigation, which I think is probably the right spot because from the outside looking in you don’t want to appear to have any bias.”