A former Montgomery County Jail sergeant said in recent deposition testimony that another sergeant announced he would “beat” an inmate before an altercation that left the inmate, a homeless veteran, in a coma.
Former Sgt. Eric Banks –- who took a medical retirement this month -- relayed his recollection of events of Jan. 16, 2015, in a deposition this month.
Banks was called to testify in the federal lawsuit filed by Joseph Guglielmo, the veteran whose suit says the incident left him permanently disabled.
The suit says former Sgt. Matthew Snyder “beat Guglielmo repeatedly and threw him against the concrete wall” and “delivered several closed-fist strikes” to Guglielmo’s head, eye area and abdomen.
Snyder and other corrections officers named in the suit deny any excessive use of force. An internal review of the incident determined that Snyder did not violate agency policy.
But Banks testified that Snyder, before going to Guglielmo’s cell, “said something to the effect of, after roll call, we're going to go down there and beat the old man's (expletive).”
Banks testified that other deputies told Snyder that Guglielmo would settle down, urging him not to go in the cell, but Snyder and three corrections officers did go in.
Banks testified they didn't take a hand-held video camera with them, violating jail policy.
Banks also said that other deputies told him Snyder used a homosexual slur at least twice toward the inmate, and "Guglielmo had got upset and stood up off the bench and that's when Snyder shoved him back and that's when he hit his head and he (Snyder) got on top of him."
Sheriff Phil Plummer declined to speak on camera because this is all part of pending litigation.
But in a January interview, Plummer denied the use of excessive force.
Plummer said Guglielmo "was banging his head on the glass door, that's why we entered the cell, to get him under control.”
Plummer said Guglielmo went after Snyder, who used four blows to defend himself and control the prisoner.
"We do run the jail. We're not there to get beat on by inmates. We will defend ourselves. We have to,” he said.