ALBANY, N.Y. - The Albany County Sheriff's Office has released video of an alleged attack on an inmate by a Correction Officer and two other inmates.
The Sheriff's Office reports on March 6th, while on-duty Correction Officer Craig Strizzi conspired with two inmates, 34-year-old Matthew Cahn and 46-year-old Lauterio Santos to assault a third inmate, 20-year-old Walter Cleveland.
Cleveland is incarcerated on charges he sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy in Albany's Lincoln Park.
Cleveland, who was housed with special restrictions, was out of his cell for recreation while the rest of the inmates on the tier were locked in their cells during their normal lock in times.
The video shows Cleveland exiting the recreation yard as Officer Strizzi grabs him, pushes him up against a wall and holds him as Cahn and Lauterio ran over and began punching him about the head and body while Officer Strizzi also allegedly punches him. At the time, Cahn and Lauterio were "runners," inmates allowed to run errands.
After the incident, it is alleged Strizzi filed reports stating the victim threw a punch at him which precipitated the incident and he was forced to defend himself as the other two inmates.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says Strizzi planned the attack to appear Cleveland was the attacker and the two other inmates had to come to his rescue. Apple says, as seen in the video, Strizzi led Cleveland to an area in the jail that he thought contained a blind spot for surveillance cameras.
Apple says during the one-minute-long attack the victim does nothing to defend himself.
"The video speaks for itself. [Strizzi] violated our policies
and the law and that's what it breaks down to," Apple said.
Strizzi, a 15-year veteran of the Albany County Sheriff's Office, has been suspended without pay.
Strizzi was arrested Friday and charged with Unlawful Imprisonment 1st-Degree, Offering a False Written Instrument for Filing 1st-degree, both felonies, Assault 3rd-degree, Criminal Facilitation 4th-degree, Conspiracy 5th-degree, Making a Punishable False Written Statement, and Official Misconduct, all misdemeanors.
Cahn and Santos are both facing charges of felony assault. Both are serving out sentences at the Albany County Correctional Facility on unrelated charges.
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