In an unusual direct allegation to the judge, Sandlin said that another defendant in Capitol disturbances, Ryan Samsel, “was severely beaten by correctional officers, [is now] He is blind in one eye, has a skull fracture and retinal detachment. “
Sandlin also described the racial tension between minority guards and the mostly white defendants, some of whom have been publicly accused of belonging to or being associated with white supremacist groups.
Sandlin said guards knocked “to the ground” a high-profile prisoner, Richard Barnett, 60, who was photographed with the boot on a desk in President Nancy Pelosi’s office. Sandlin said one of the guards stated, “I hate all white people and their honky religion.”
The three defendants who raised the alarm are charged with a wide range of crimes related to the violation of the Capitol. Sandlin, who posted images of himself smoking a joint in the Capitol Rotunda, is accused of fighting with several United States Capitol Police officers guarding the Senate chamber and attempting to rip off one of their helmet. Samsel, who is currently on probation in Pennsylvania and wanted for an unrelated alleged assault in New Jersey, is charged with breaking down barricades on top of police officers and telling one, “We don’t have to hurt you, why are you standing? in our way? “
Barnett is charged with entering the Capitol armed with a stun gun, entering Pelosi’s office and stepping on furniture, in addition to stealing mail from her office.
Defense attorneys for Samsel and Barnett confirmed the episodes described in court by Sandlin, which they said they learned about from their clients, clients’ families and other attorneys.
“There is a pattern of abuse and attacks on defendants who are detained in accordance with what happened on January 6,” said Joseph McBride of New York, Barnett’s defense attorney. “It is a goal. He is ruthless. It is uninterrupted. “
Steven Metcalf, Samsel’s attorney, said that after his client complained last month about the slow delivery of toilet paper, he was zipped up, transferred to a cell out of sight of surveillance cameras and guards brutally beat him.
I’ve seen Ryan. He has two black eyes to this day, two weeks later. All the skin is ripped off both wrists, showing the ties and how tight they were, ”said Metcalf, also from New York. “Other inmates said his face looked like a trampled tomato.”
“We intend to file a lawsuit against the two specific guards and the facility responsible for this scenario because Ryan Samsel did not deserve to be attacked and treated like this,” Metcalf added.
Another Samsel attorney, Elisabeth Pasqualini, said her client was moved to another “undisclosed” location early Tuesday and that the episode in which he was injured last month was under investigation by the FBI.
Nearly all of the January 6 defendants who arrived in Washington and remain in custody are being held at the Correctional Treatment Center, a complex in southeastern DC that is typically used for inmates with healthcare needs or requiring isolation from the facility. general prison population. About 40 defendants in Capitol riot are currently at the CTF, defense attorneys said.
A spokesman for the DC jail and an attorney representing the DC government in such matters did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the allegations. Jail officials previously informed the court that all of the January 6 defendants have been held in “restrictive housing” to protect them from potential altercations with other inmates.
“For their own safety and protection, all detainees who are being held in jail in connection with the events that occurred on January 6, 2021 on Capitol Hill have been placed in restrictive housing,” Deputy Director Michelle Jones said in a statement. presented last month to Judge Royce Lamberth, who is presiding over a separate case related to January 6.
A veteran DC defense attorney said many Capitol rioters were new to the District’s prison system and might believe they are being targeted specifically when they are simply not familiar with being in jail, particularly in the harsh conditions of 23 hours a day. . isolation day.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Friedrich did not respond directly to Sandlin’s complaints about the jail, but set an additional hearing for Thursday on his possible release from custody.
Pasqualini said he recognized that many people might have little sympathy for those accused of storming the Capitol, but that people who have not been convicted of any crime should not face such harsh conditions or abuse.
“For anyone who is inclined to think like a defendant ‘Capitol Rioter’, Mr. Samsel got what he deserved, I say come down from the top of the mountain, the hypocrisy in that air is distorting his vision,” he said. it’s a statement. “Either we live in a democracy that believes in due process and equality before the law or not.”