Saturday, August 23, 2014

Electric Boogaloo- Beaker's Boys

I began my stint in law enforcement working in a county jail. I obtained my corrections certification and spent my time smelling body funk and feces in a roughly 2500 person facility.
I never intended to stay in the corrections field, this was the easiest way to get my Peace Officer Certification paid for. I would work in the jail until a slot opened up in the next police academy.

My time working in the jail was short, but far from uneventful. I was stabbed within the first month off my initial training. This would definitely set the tone for my time there.

This is also when I was first introduced to Beaker and his merry band of assholes.

If you're not up to speed on Beaker, feel free to play catch up here.

Beaker first approached me in the staff dining area one evening. I had been working there for about 3 months at the time. He wanted to let me know they were holding tryouts for SERT and that I was high on the recruiting roster.  I had apparently made a name for myself as quite the bruiser.

Unfortunately for them, I was fairly judicial with my ass beatings. I had seen the type of work they did. I wanted no part of it. If I put my hands on someone, it wasn't because they gave me a dirty look and called me a mother fucker.

Unlike this poor fella who most likely made the egregious violation of knocking on a cell door, asking for some toilet paper.

Like SWAT, these types of teams were meant to be used as a last resort. They are now the first tool used, even surpassing giving verbal commands on the force continuum.
They will beat your ass for not complying with an order that was never verbalized.

I was assigned to the maximum security unit during this time period. It was a lovely place to spend your days, filled with society's best and brightest. Child molesters, sexual predators, those facing the death penalty, those who had assaulted officers, the criminally insane, etc. etc. were my daily companions.

One particular inmate had caused the department quite the headache. We'll call him Jaws. Why? Because at one time he bit the veins out of his forearm. 

Jaws was in jail awaiting trail on some particularly nasty charges involving children. The problems began with him acting strange, requesting mental health appointments, and veiled suicide threats. These are typical behaviors for someone facing serious time. They all try the insane route.

No one took him seriously until one night, when he broke off a piece of porcelain from the toilet and sliced his forearms to the bone. I'd seen flooded cells before, but never with blood.

Jaws was rushed to the hospital were they were able to barely save his life. We figured it was a cry for attention that accidentally went too far. He wont try that shit again, will he?

How wrong we were. When this guy finally went off the deep end, he did so with a beer bottle up his ass, clucking like a chicken.

Jaws was released from the hospital after a few weeks. He was returned to the jail on suicide watch. This means he sat in an empty cell wearing a paper gown. An officer visually checked on him every 10-15 minutes. No pens, no paper, no magazines, no books, no toilet paper, no toothbrush. Absolutely nothing is allowed in the cell except for meal time. He is given a styrofoam tray, usually containing a peanut butter sandwich, no jelly, and an orange slice. An officer must watch him eat, then immediately remove the tray.

This was his diet until he tried to eat the styrofoam tray. He was then restricted to the sandwich only.
Until he balled it up and tried to jam it down his throat, attempting to asphyxiate. 

Enter Nutraloaf.

This stuff tastes like Satan's butthole after an all you can eat chalupa night at Taco Bell.

So there Jaws sits, with absolutely nothing in his 8x6 cell to occupy him.

Except for the hundred or so stitches still in his forearms.
Which he decided to rip out with his teeth, flooding his cell with blood once again.

Jaws was raced back to the hospital. Once he was stabilized, he was sent to a mental hospital for evaluation. They had to strap him down to his bed and keep him medicated until the wounds healed.

The medication seemed to help Jaws at the hospital. They slowly removed his restraints over time, eventually allowing him to attend group counseling sessions.

Such improvement, until he beat an orderly half to death with a desk drawer.

They immediately shipped him back to us. Hospitals aren't equipped to handle that sort of violence.

I soon found out, neither were we.

The responsibility to handle this inmate fell on none other than Beaker and his goons.
What could go wrong?

This all occurred at the time when tazers were just becoming popular within law enforcement.
This is not going to end well for Jaws.

Beaker's Plan
Jaws was to be kept in a isolation cell in the medical ward. One of Beaker's goons was with him at all times. If Jaws started acting tacky, he was to be tazered immediately. The electrocution would continue until back up arrived. Jaws would then be moved (dragged naked) to the maximum security unit. They had just obtained a restraint bed and they were itching to use it. 

Jaws would stay in the restraint bed for 4 hours. He would be removed and taken back to medical to start all over again. The purpose of this, we were told, was to correct his behavior. He would have to earn every privilege back that he had lost. His behavior would either improve, or they would continue the non medical shock treatment.

This plan was not only ludicrous, but cruel as fuck. Nothing like trying to rationalize with a guy who has eaten his own flesh.

I was briefed on all this because I was the maximum security officer for my shift. The restraint bed was in my unit. I would not be involved in any of the shenanigans, but I sure as shit was a witness to them.

Beaker came to me, trying to feel me out. He wanted to know if I was going to "cooperate" with their unique situation. Meaning, he wanted to know if I was going to keep quiet.

I had only been working at the department for a few months, but I knew even then how "rats" were treated. If I bucked it, I would essentially kill my career before it had a chance to start. I was on the list for the next academy. I had made a good reputation for myself in the short amount of time I had been there. 

So I took the cowards way out.

I didn't think what they were doing was right, but what did I know? I was a jailer with zero real law enforcement training. This guy was a pedder-ass, what did I care? I wouldn't participate in their circus, but I wouldn't speak out against it.

Beaker was an idiot, but he was a high ranking idiot. This was unsettling, but it had to be legal, right?

It went like this.

About 10 minutes after shift change you would hear the call go out over the radio. Jaws had been tazered. About 4 minutes later he would be drug into my unit by a group of these idiots. They would strap him down to the bed and leave his assigned storm trooper in the room with him. He would be beaten and randomly tazed for the next 4 hours. They were very good about not leaving any marks.

When the 4 hours was up, he would be removed by the goon squad and taken back to medical. He usually lasted about 10 minutes before he was tazered again and drug back to my unit.

What kind of behavior was Jaws exhibiting to warrant such barbarism?

Asking what time it was was.
Not waking up fast enough upon demand.
Asking to brush his teeth.
Standing in the corner of his cell.
Not responding to questions.

They jokingly referred to it as "shock treatment". They weren't tazering him because he was assaulting someone or trying to injure himself. They were doing it on a time line.

This went on for a few weeks. Jaws' behavior did improve, partly to the fact that he was half catatonic by the end of the treatment. Towards the end, he would lay in the bed drooling on himself. They would tazer him till he vomited on himself then leave him to lay in it.

He finally went to court and was sent down the road to a state facility.

No one cared that this man was brutalized. He was crazy and he touched kids. It was fair game as far as the department was concerned.

You might feel the same way but these incidents happened over 10 years ago. The treatment that this man received is now being dealt out to people arrested on drunk driving, outstanding traffic tickets and disorderly conduct. It could be your mother, your father, your child, your friend or you.

We cannot accept brutality, no matter how deserving we feel the receiving party is.


  1. Powerful writing. Your blog deserves wider readership. Could you elaborate on how these tactics are being used for minor offenses?

    1. Thank you. I will be covering this soon.