A man in the middle of serving a four-year prison sentence for stealing four phone chargers was allegedly beaten to death by a correctional officer while handcuffed in a Florida prison Thursday. Christopher Howell, whom another inmate described as having the “mind of a 10-year-old boy” and being unable to defend himself, was beaten by the yet unnamed officer after refusing a command. Two other officers were present but did nothing to intervene, according to inmates and another officer who witnessed the scene. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
The Lake Correctional Institution, where Howell was allegedly beaten and died, has become known for violent officers. Video of a previous incident at the prison shows officers punching an inmate who was on the ground in the head. Howell had been slapped by the same officer who allegedly beat him to death for not returning a food tray, according to an inmate. A former inmate, Josh Shelar, said officers had once beaten him until he was unconscious then threatened to kill him if he filed a grievance against them.