THE INVESTIGATORS: FBI to investigate Hunt Correctional officers accused in inmate beating

Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (Source: WAFB)
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (Source: WAFB)
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (Source: WAFB)
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (Source: WAFB)

ST. GABRIEL, LA (WAFB) - The 9News Investigators have learned the investigation into six officers accused in the alleged beating of an inmate at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center has been turned over to the FBI.

Photographs of the inmate, identified as John Harrold, 34, show what appear to be injuries to his head, leg, and foot. His sister, Tina Harrold, tells the 9News Investigators the photographs were sent from inside of the prison. The alleged beating happened in early January.

Six corrections officers are now on administrative leave, accused of using excessive force against Harrold.

"The pictures were disturbing," said St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau.

The St. Gabriel Police Department was named the lead agency on the investigation, but Chief Ambeau said after interviewing at least 25 witnesses, he has determined the case is so complex he needed to ask for others to get involved.

"We have turned the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the reason for that is we don't want to leave no stone unturned," said Ambeau.

Ambeau also said the case files include the pictures, interviews, and statements from Hunt employees and inmates. He said surveillance cameras inside the facility do not show footage inside the cell where Harrold was allegedly beaten. The Department of Corrections has not released the names of the officers under investigation, but Chief Ambeau indicated some of them are well known at Hunt.

"I don't know how many years they had at the prison. I know some of them were pretty high ranking," said Ambeau.

The inmate's sister said that her brother is in a wheelchair and is still suffering from his injuries. She said relatives are glad to hear the FBI is on the case.

"Justice for me and my family would be for these officers doing these things to be brought to justice and taken out of the system, because obviously they are in there for the wrong reasons," said Tina Harrold.

Ambeau said he does not have an estimate of how long the federal investigation might take. The FBI would not confirm or deny that they have the case.

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