Philly Prison Guards Arrested for Violent Treatment of Incarcerated

By Ava Schwartzapfel

PHILADELPHIA, PA— Philadelphia corrections officers Jean Castor and Terrel Felts were arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and official oppression in their treatment of incarcerated.

Jean Castor, age 54, has been employed by the Philadelphia Department of Prisons for 15 years. Terrel Felts, age 32, is a 10-year veteran of the department.

They are alleged to have violently punched, kicked, and beaten incarcerated member Amir McClennan of Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility, their workplace, July 16. This prison houses 2,237 men in Northeast Philadelphia.

The two officers have been released on unsecured $75,000 bail and are no longer employed with Philadelphia city prisons.

Charging documents state McClennan was on the phone without permission when Castor ended the phone call. McClennan then allegedly “attacked” Castor.

Video footage shows officers grabbing McClennan and restraining him on the ground when Castor proceeded to strike the victim’s head with his handheld radio, and now faces an additional charge of possessing an instrument of crime for allegedly striking the victim’s head with a prison-issued walkie-talkie.

The video then shows Felts kicking McClennan’s head before a second prisoner intervened and tackled Felts to the ground. Felts and Castor then kicked and stomped head of that incarcerated, “leaving a smear of blood across the linoleum floor,” shared The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Video also shows the officers attempting to contain Felts, and barely avoiding being hit by him as well.

District Attorney Larry Krasner says that “this incident should disturb all of our consciences,” adding that corrections officers should have a safe and welcoming work environment where they can go about their duties without concern for their physical health.

Krasner then cites the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution meant to protect incarcerated people and stating it must be upheld for the justice system to run efficiently.

The district attorney then thanked his Special Investigation Unit for seeking justice for the victim in this case and holding the two officers accountable for their actions. The District Attorney’s Office Special Investigation Unit is responsible for handling criminal complaints involving law enforcement and public officials.

Krasner said he is determined to “continue to press for answers from our justice system partners, because authority to remove people from their communities and to hold them in our custody must be wielded responsibly and accountability.”

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