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Bayside corrections officer charged with beating, degrading inmates

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At least two Bayside State Prison corrections officers violently assaulted and degraded certain inmates, according to charges filed against one this week.
John Makos, 41, of Millville, is charged with participating in a conspiracy to deprive inmates of their civil rights.
He and at least one other officer formed an ad hoc regime of physical punishments for actual and perceived violations of the Cumberland County prison’s rules and customs and meted out such punishments in a cruel and degrading manner, at times with the assistance of other inmates, acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig announced Friday.
In one instance, an inmate was made to pull down his pants and was beaten on his bare buttocks with a ruler, according to the complaint.
The beating was so hard that the ruler broke, leaving a mark on the man. He later was allegedly made to show his injuries to other inmates.
Witnesses also told investigators that they saw a shoe mark on one of the victims at least once, and believed his ribs were broken.
“A badge is not a license to abuse the power it conveys or to deny the civil rights of the people in one’s custody," FBI Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. said. "It matters not whether the wearer belongs to a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, or a correctional facility, we all bear the same responsibility to respect and defend the rights of those in our care.
"Let me be clear, the FBI protects and upholds the rights of all of our citizens," he added. "We will go wherever we are needed to weed out illegal activity and arrest the perpetrators.”
Makos and others assaulted and punished certain inmates in a cruel and arbitrary manner from at least April 2019 through December 2019, according to the federal complain.
Punishments included "the fence treatment," where the victim's one arm would be handcuffed to a fence in the back of the prison's kitchen with the other arm cuffed to a swinging door "so that the inmate would appear to be crucified," the investigator wrote.
Another inmate working with Makos and at least one other corrections officer would move the swinging door so the victim's body would expand and collapse while Makes and at least one other correction officer would punch the victim's body, the complaint alleges.
The other inmates didn't speak out for fear they would lose their jobs in the prison's kitchen, according to the complaint.
Makos allegedly made one inmate if he wanted to keep his kitchen job, he would have to "ride the motorcycle."
He then made the man put his back against the wall and assume a sitting position like he was riding a motorcycle, the complaint said.
Makos then allegedly kicked the man in the chest.
No other officers were named in the complaint, and no other charges were announced.
It was not clear if more arrests were forthcoming.
“Prisoners are entitled to be treated with basic dignity, not pummeled and humiliated at the whim of correctional officers,” Honig said. “We once again affirm our commitment to uphold the civil rights of all persons, including those living in a correctional setting.”

author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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