Physically and Mentally Disabled Man Beaten by Pennsylvania Prison Guards

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – Bucks County corrections officers shook the wrong bean stalk when they allegedly beat down the jolly “Big Giant of Trenton,” called him the N-word, placed him in solitary confinement so he couldn’t tell family members about injuries and then slapped him with trumped-up charges.

James Covington, a physically and mentally disabled 36-year-old Trenton man, was jailed this month over unpaid fines. On Oct. 4, while at the Doylestown detention center, COs allegedly broke Covington’s collar bone while man-handling him at the jail, family members told The Trentonian.

The inmate claimed he walked away from COs with his hands up after they called him the N-word. But he was still criminally charged with assault Oct. 18.

Covington’s attorney, Patrick Whalen, demanded jail officials bring in a special prosecutor to handle an investigation into the brutal assault, which also left Covington with deep cuts on his head.

Covington described what happened to him during a recorded phone call with his sister.

“All of a sudden I’m walking back to my cell the officer who was on the top tier came behind me,” Covington said. “I looked at my feet and my feet were off the ground. Next thing I know I was on a stretcher. The nurses were like, ‘You know where you’re at Mr. Covington?’”

Covington’s account, relayed through family members, his attorney and the recorded call, is starkly different than one presented by investigators who sided with the COs’ use of force in subduing an aggressive and unruly inmate.

Covington’s family alleged he was the victim of an unprovoked racist attack in which three unidentified white COs picked on him over his height and called him a “n—–” when he grew angry over their disparaging comments.

A spokesman for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office confirmed his office received a call from Covington’s sister about her brother’s alleged mistreatment at the jail. He was unaware whether the DA will investigate the claims.

Jail officials declined to comment on Covington’s allegations or why it took an investigator two weeks to file charges against Covington.

“The County of Bucks cannot offer any comment regarding the questions you have forwarded regarding Mr. Covington at this time,” Commissioner’s Office spokesman Christopher Edwards said in an emailed statement. “The County also cannot comment on any pending or potential legal matter.”

Whalen called the vicious beatdown, in which Covington alleged he was tossed down a flight of stairs, an example of “complete corruption and a total disregard of the U.S. Constitution.”

The attorney said the family wants the feds to investigate.

“It’s the whole ‘chip on your shoulder. Take the tallest guy and knock him down a peg or two,’” Whalen said. “I don’t understand how an unpaid fine turns into a guy with a broken collarbone.”

After the incident, Covington was transferred to Mercer County jail in Hopewell Township. But his family and attorney said he has been shipped back to the Bucks County jail, which they said is problematic because they fear the COs will target him for complaining about them.

The situation is so acrimonious Whalen said a sheriff officer spoke out at Covington’s court hearing urging the judge not to send him back to Bucks. Whalen planned to get in touch with the sheriff this weekend.

The Trentonian was unable to reach the sheriff for comment.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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