Tom Winn has pictures of his wife from April 14, 2005 that show what he calls the outright brutality and cruelty of Harrison County jailers. Winn didn't hide his feelings about the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
"Right now you have an organization that's out of control," he told county supervisors.
Winn believes bruises pictured on his wife's arms were caused by jailers in the county's booking room.
"I don't have a lot of compassion for punks and cowards," he said. "And that's what you have operating that jail right now."
The Long Beach man spent almost 45 minutes talking with Harrison County supervisors. He described his version of what happened last April, after the couple got arrested on identical misdemeanor domestic abuse charges.
"The guy taking my picture who was a jailer looked at me and said, 'We're going to have fun with that old woman tonight.' And I looked at him right in the eye and I said, 'Sir, that's my wife.'"
The sheriff had his internal affairs investigator Steve Campbell at the supervisors meeting. After Mr. Winn finished, Campbell got up and said the allegations weren't true. He contended taped evidence from the booking room area proved that nobody was beaten or abused that night.
He remembered what happened last April.
"I got Wayne Payne and somebody else in my office," he said. "We reviewed the video and went and briefed the sheriff. And I just told them, what Mr. Winn is alleging just did not happen."
Campbell told supervisors Mrs. Winn seemed mentally unstable. Her husband admitted that was the case.
"A 59-year-old woman never had so much as a traffic ticket. Her only mistake was having a problem mentally," Winn said.
Mrs. Winn had to wear a paper suicide gown while she was in her holding cell. Campbell had no problems with how jailers treated her.
"I didn't see any policy violations or anything," said Campbell.
Winn says he's sure his wife was stripped, searched, beaten, and not allowed to leave jail when her bond was posted. And he threatened to file a lawsuit against Harrison County to prove his wife's case.
Sheriff Payne thinks he's come up with a way to put any rumors to rest about his booking area. As soon as Tuesday, a web camera will be installed in booking. People who go to the sheriff's department web site will be able to see and hear everything that takes place in that area of the jail.
by Brad Kessie
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