In the News

Excessive Force Claimed In Prison Beating

by Karen Pelkey

May 7, 2004

NEW LONDON — The lawyer for an inmate whose bloody beating was captured on videotape that was leaked to a local television station said Wednesday the man was attacked in retaliation for his outspoken criticism of intentional abuse of inmates by prison officials.

Bridgeport-based civil rights lawyer Antonio Ponvert said he’s contemplating filing a federal lawsuit “any day,” claiming that Capt. Matthew Regan and correction officers Patrick Maia and Shane Maloney, among others, “used excessive force” and imposed “cruel and unusual punishment” on inmate Robert Joslyn, 28, after he set off the sprinkler system and flooded his cell block on March 9 inside the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers

The videotape, which the TV station said was obtained through “confidential sources,” shows prison officials in gas masks responding to Joslyn’s cell, where Ponvert said they used Mace in an attempt to subdue Joslyn.

Ponvert said Joslyn — who has spent nearly half his life in jail and who has twice been charged with assaulting correction officers — is tall and skinny, and can barely be seen behind the guards, but can be heard yelling for help while Regan, the tactical team commander for the unit, gives him instructions.

Once Joslyn is extracted from his cell, the camera catches a shot of his face, which is covered in blood.

“It’s not an exaggeration to call it a bloody pulp,” Ponvert said. “It is quite clear he has been very savagely assaulted. Everything about this is a major violation.”

Regan, Maia, and Maloney were placed on paid administrative leave on April 7 pending a state police investigation into the incident, Correction Department spokesman Ed Ramsey said Wednesday.