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Capitol riot inmate said he was 'savagely' beaten by officers while in custody. The DOC says it didn't happen.

DOC Director says internal investigation cleared correctional officer of claims he attacked inmate in his cell

WASHINGTON — The Director of the DC Department of Corrections says allegations an inmate in its custody was “savagely” beaten while being detained on charges stemming from the riot at the US Capitol January 6 are untrue.

“DOC has conducted an investigation into allegations made by an inmate regarding our correctional officers and found there was not any violent interaction between the inmate and any correctional officer,” Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth wrote in a statement to WUSA9. “The results of our investigation have been submitted to the Department of Justice, which is conducting its own investigation.”

That investigation was done after an attorney for a Capitol riot defendant claimed her client was beaten by a guard so severely, he had to have his jaw wired shut and may lose sight in one eye because of his injuries.

Elisabeth Pasqualini is one of the lawyers representing Ryan Samsel, a Pennsylvania man accused of pushing over barriers and knocking down a police officer – causing her to suffer a concussion – during the Capitol riot.

RELATED: Capitol riot suspect 'viciously' beaten in jail, may lose sight, attorney says

Samsel has been in federal custody since his arrest in January on charges of forcibly assaulting or interfering with a federal agent, obstructing an official proceeding and obstructing an officer.

This week, another Capitol riot defendant, Ronald Sandlin, told a federal judge during a bail hearing that Samsel was one of a number of defendants in the case who had experienced violence from D.C. correctional officers.

In an interview with WUSA9, Pasqualini said Samsel had been “viciously and savagely” beaten by a corrections officer who zip-tied his hands first. She says she was only alerted to the alleged attack when two attorneys representing other defendants contacted her and said her client had gotten “a beatdown” by a guard and was in the hospital.

“He has definitely suffered serious injuries, including a shattered orbital floor, a broken orbital bone, his jaw was broken, his nose was broken,” Pasqualini said. 

According to Pasqualini, Samsel is currently unable to see out of his right eye and may permanently lose vision in it.

Even before the alleged assault, Pasqualini says her client was being held in lockdown for 23 hours a day and was having difficulty getting access to hygiene supplies and the shower. She says he has since been moved to another jail facility, where he remains under lockdown.

Pasqualini says she reported the alleged assault to jail officials, who told her they are conducting an internal investigation. She also reported it to the FBI, which, she said, told her it was investigating as well.

But in his statement, Director Booth said that investigation cleared its officer of any wrongdoing.

“The DC Department of Corrections takes the safety and well-being of all residents, staff, and contractors extremely seriously,” Booth wrote.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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