A former officer at the Eastern Correctional Institution pleaded guilty to two charges stemming from a July 2021 beating of a prisoner who was first taken to a room to be strip searched, then handcuffed, and then punched several times in the head, according to court records.

Samuel Warren, who was 35 at the time of the July 2021 beating and had been a correctional officer at the prison from 2010 to 2022, pleaded guilty to one count of “deprivation of rights under color of law” and one count of falsification of records. He faces up to 30 years in prison under the maximum sentencing guidelines and has a sentencing hearing scheduled for Jan. 3. Warren’s attorney, Justin Brown, declined to comment.

Two other correctional officers were also charged in connection to the incident.

The victim, who is identified only by the initials K.K., entered a housing unit at the Eastern Shore prison to begin his shift as an inmate observation aid, a “position typically assigned to inmates with excellent disciplinary records,” according to court records.

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“While another officer was frisking K.K. at the unit’s entrance, the defendant became irritated with K.K. about the fact that K.K. was wearing a face mask (because of the COVID-19 pandemic) that was hanging below his nose,” the plea agreement said. “After the frisk was complete, K.K. walked onto the tier and commented that either the defendant or his interaction with the defendant had been ‘crazy.’”

That was all it took for Warren to order a strip search of the prisoner, who was first ordered to go to the property room where those searches are typically conducted, according to the plea agreement.

Inside the property room, the prisoner walked to the back near a double door, where instructions for the strip searches are posted. He faced the door, as the protocol calls for, and began to read the instructions aloud, but paused twice to make what prosecutors described as a “lewd comment” about the officers not being able to see his genitals if he was facing the door, the agreement said.

Warren asked the prisoner if he liked his job as an aid in the housing unit, and when he answered that he did, Warren told him he had just lost the job, according to the agreement. Warren then told the prisoner that he was going to be handcuffed and strip searched by correctional officers, a procedure referred to as a “monitored strip search,” the agreement said.

After cuffing the prisoner’s hands behind his back, and with the prisoner’s shoes off and pants still lowered from the partial strip search, Warren began to escort the prisoner toward the door of the property room, according to the agreement.

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“On their way to the door, K.K. pulled away from the defendant, breaking the defendant’s grip on his arm,” the agreement said.

Although all Warren had to do to regain control of the prisoner was to grab his arm again, since he posed no threat of harm or escape, Warren instead “threw K.K. to the floor and punched him five or six times in the face and head, all while K.K. was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his side on the floor,” the agreement said.

The assault left the prisoner bleeding and visibly injured, according to court records.

The plea agreement goes on to detail how Warren wrote a false account of the events in his incident report and read it to two other officers: Neil Daubach and Ananias Wilson. The officers then read their reports aloud to each other to get their stories aligned, according to the plea agreement.

Wilson has since pleaded guilty in state court to obstructing and hindering and received an 18-month suspended sentence. Daubach’s case is pending.

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Reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this report.

bconarck@thebaltimorebanner.com

Ben Conarck is a criminal justice reporter focusing on law enforcement for The Baltimore Banner. Previously, he covered healthcare and investigations for the Miami Herald and criminal justice for the Florida Times-Union. 

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