Described as a “demonic” correctional officer, Lt. Troy Mitchell, 54, is currently under investigation after a brutal beating left a prison inmate partially blind.
Waddell Smith, his accuser, asserts that last April, Mitchell “pummeled” him in his face and sprayed an entire can of Mace into his face and eyes at the Auburn Correctional Facility in upstate New York. This incident is described in the lawsuit that details the incident in which damaged his eyesight.
Smith is not the first inmate to accuse Mitchell of torturous acts. Mitchell was previously accused of punching inmates’ genitalia, waterboarding, and other violent acts of misconduct. Mitchell has reportedly already cost the state over $90,000 in payout fees over the years, due to harassment and assault allegations, according to the NY Daily News.
Smith claims that the incident occurred during a routine cell check when the corrections officer ran over to him and began choking him. The complaint also includes accusations that other officers were choking, punching, and kicking him as Mitchell sprayed him with Mace and punched him in the face.
Smith is currently serving a 22-to-life year sentence since 2000 following a sentencing for robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.
“As they [stood me up], I tried to walk out of the room in fear of being killed by these officers,” Smith wrote in his complaint. “Lt. Mitchell pulled me by my hair and yanked me back into the room and began punching me in the face with a closed fist.”
Smith said the assault ended only because a corrections officer with a camera appeared. Medical assistants tended to lacerations on his right eye and shoulder. The documentation about the incident reports that Smith could not speak well enough to detail to the medical attendants what had occurred due to the brutal choking he suffered.
A pattern of abuse
Mitchell was suspended that same month without pay after two other inmates claimed similar patterns of abuse. Matthew Raymond, one of the victims, now has to use a catheter to urinate due to the damage he sustained after Mitchell waterboarded him and beat his genitals, according to his lawyer’s documents.
In 2006, a woman named Penny Collins described Mitchell as “one of the sickest people” she’s ever met and warned the Correctional Services to investigate him. She was the only person to report the corrections officer’s violent acts, and went on to sue the state, Mitchell, and five other officers for sexual harassment and other charges.
Collins won and received nearly $800,000 in judgement, as well as $150,000 in back pay from 2012. Apparently, none of this was enough for the corrections department to terminate Mitchell.
“If the Department of Correctional Services had seriously looked at his prior allegations of misconduct, this incident never would have happened,” Smith’s lawyer, Andrew Plasse, said to the NY Daily News.