One of the men awaiting trial on charges he assaulted two Capitol police officers during a January 6th riot claims he was beaten to a “bloody pulp” by a prison guard — an attack that left him suffering ongoing seizures. Others arrested following the attack on the United States Capitol say they are being kept in solitary confinement, limited to their cells for 23 hours a day despite not being convicted of a crime.
The Washington Post reports that Ryan Samsel, who is charged with “assaulting a police officer at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” has alleged in a complaint to the court that “two guards at the D.C. jail beat him last month, breaking his nose, dislocating his jaw and leaving him suffering seizures.”
“This is unjustified, and the way that these guys are being treated is completely unreasonable, it’s wholly unconstitutional,” his attorney said in an interview. “It doesn’t matter what these guys are being charged with. All of these guys are still pretrial detention; they have not been convicted of any crimes. And this is what they’ve been forced to endure.”
“According to Metcalf, the incident, as related to him by his client, began the afternoon of March 20 when Samsel complained that the guards had taken hours to get him toilet paper,” the Post continued. “An argument ensued. That evening, according to Metcalf, Samsel was moved to another cell. Around midnight, the lawyer said, two guards came to that cell, restrained Samsel’s arms behind his back with zip-tie handcuffs, and ‘beat him to a bloody pulp.'”
Samsel reportedly did not regain consciousness until the next day and has suffered seizures ever since.
Samsel’s attorney has yet to file an official complaint about his client’s treatment but says that he is in the process of gathering evidence and obtaining Samsel’s medical records.
“We intend on filing a lawsuit against the two specific guards and the facility responsible for this scenario because Ryan Samsel did not deserve to get targeted and treated like this,” he said.
The D.C. Department of Corrections said in its own statement that it “takes the safety and well-being of all residents, staff, and contractors extremely seriously,” and that the Department of Justice is investigating Samsel’s allegations.
It turns out, though, that Samsel is not the only defendant awaiting trial for his alleged actions during the January 6th riot that has complained about mistreatment. According to Politico, others awaiting adjudication on similar charges have complained about being isolated and, in some cases, locked down for 23 of 24 hours per day.
“For weeks, Capitol riot defendants being held in Washington have complained that they are locked in their cells with virtually no human contact for 23 hours a day,” Politico reported.
Additionally, at least one defendant has complained about being subject to “violence, threats, and verbal harassment” while in custody.
“Myself and others involved in the Jan. 6 incident are scared for their lives, not from each other but from correctional officers,” one defendant, Ronald Sandlin, who is accused of smoking marijuana on Capitol grounds and of “tussling with multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers guarding the Senate chamber and trying to rip the helmet off of one of them,” told a judge during his bail hearing. “I don’t understand how this is remotely acceptable.” Sandlin called his treatment at the hands of DC prison guards, “mental torture.”
DC Corrections says the 23-hour isolation is typical for prison inmates, and many of the Capitol rioters awaiting trial simply were not familiar with what prison is like.