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Samuel Harrell, 30
Fishkill, New York
April 23, 2015

Agencies: Department of Corrections and Community Supervision New York

Last updated: over 1 year ago

Overview Help icon

For the second time in a matter of days, an inmate at one of the region’s state prisons is dead. James Miller, the spokesman for the New York State Corrections Officers PBA confirmed to on Thursday that a prisoner at Fishkill Correctional Facility died in the prison this week, either late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Two corrections officers were injured in an apparent scuffle and were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

On August 18, 2015, the New York Times reported that Harrell was beaten by as many as 20 officers and thrown down the stairs and killed. According to the article, Harrell, an inmate with a history of bipolar disorder, packed his bags and announced he was going home resulting in a confrontation with corrections officers and being thrown to the floor and handcuffed. Officers including members of a group known around the prison as the Beat Up Squad — repeatedly kicked and punched Mr. Harrell, who is black, with some of them shouting racial slurs, according to more than a dozen inmate witnesses. Mr. Harrell was then thrown or dragged down a staircase, according to the inmates’ accounts. One inmate reported seeing him lying on the landing, “bent in an impossible position.”

Legal Action Help icon

The Correctional Association of New York, on August 18, 2015, called for expanded federal investigation of the state prison system, saying the recent death of a 30-year-old inmate after a confrontation with guards shows a complete overhaul is overdue.

Blacklivesmatter activists demanded that Dutchess County District Attorney Bill Grady bring charges against the 20 or so corrections officers who brutally beat and killed Harrell.

Attorneys representing the Harrell estate announced plans to file a federal civil rights complaint against the state on September 9, 2015.

On August 2, 2017, federal and local prosecutors determined that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges in this case.

Community and Family Efforts Help icon

April 2016 Rally and vigil one year on