In one instance, no charges were brought after Leonard Strickland, a 44-year-old inmate who suffered from schizophrenia, died after being beaten by Clinton guards in October 2010. The New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation later claimed that the man’s death was natural and ruled that prison officers did not engage in criminal behavior.
The case would have remained untold if the Times hadn’t obtained a video depicting the last 40 minutes of the man’s life.
The sad footage opens with a view of a handcuffed Strickland wearing torn clothes. As two officers attempt to force the prisoner to stay on the wall, he seems to be suffering pain and cries aloud. Within three minutes Strickland is on the floor, and six minutes later officers cannot tell if the man is breathing.
Doctors testified later in court that the handcuffs hampered the effectiveness of the CPR because Strickland's back was not flat against the floor. Strickland died a few hours later at a nearby hospital.
In the aftermath of the incident the Times interviewed incarcerated or released Clinton inmates, who all told a similar story, claiming that the handcuffed Strickland was pushed down the stairs not long before his death.
The guards denied the accusations, justifying their actions by a necessity to subdue an out-of-control prisoner.
The Times’ report revealed that no prison-guard-brutality lawsuit in the New York state Northern District has been concluded successfully in the last five years. According to State Police officials, no charges have been brought against Clinton officers.