Allegations Surface: Two Inmates in New York State Prisons Claim Waterboarding and Physical Abuse by Guards

In shocking allegations against New York state prison authorities, two inmates, Charles Wright, 44, and Eugene Taylor, 32, have filed separate civil lawsuits claiming that they were subjected to waterboarding and physical abuse by corrections officers. The incidents reportedly occurred during a days-long lockdown triggered by a prisoner-on-guard assault in October of the previous year at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville.

According to the lawsuits filed in December, both men assert that they were violently beaten and pepper-sprayed in their cells on October 7. Accused of possessing contraband, they were subsequently transported to another facility later that day, where they claim to have endured waterboarding.

Attorney Bruce Barket, representing Wright and Taylor, condemned the alleged actions as “pure unadulterated torture for no good reason.” The lawsuits, seeking $20 million in damages, encompass multiple claims, including battery, failure of prison employees to intervene on behalf of inmates, and negligent hiring and training practices within the Department of Corrections.

Wright, in his legal filing, describes being cuffed and shackled before being transported to Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison. He alleges being pepper-sprayed again before being taken to a room and shackled to a bed. An officer, identified as a White man with distinct features, allegedly placed a dirty rag over Wright’s nose and mouth, pouring water over it for about 45 seconds while another officer failed to intervene.

Similarly, Taylor’s lawsuit recounts a parallel sequence of events involving the same White officer. Taylor claims this officer wrapped a rag around his face and repeatedly submerged his head in water. Both inmates faced disciplinary hearings following these incidents.

Wright was found guilty of multiple charges, including assaulting staff and possessing contraband (a charge disputed in the lawsuit) and was sentenced to six months in a segregated housing unit. Taylor, falsely accused of demonstration and gang activity, had a disciplinary hearing initiated but never concluded. His punishment remains unconfirmed.

Both the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

Notably, this is not the first time New York state corrections officers have faced accusations of waterboarding prisoners. Inmate Matthew Raymond previously alleged that corrections Lt. Troy Mitchell waterboarded and assaulted him in 2016 at Auburn Correction Facility. Mitchell, who denies any wrongdoing, is still involved in a civil case filed by Raymond in 2018.