John McMillan’s Life
The wife of a 67-year-old man who died after allegedly being beaten by correction officers at Washington County’s Great Meadow Correctional Facility has filed a federal civil rights complaint against more than a dozen officers involved in the event.
After being convicted of attempting to murder two Arab store employees during separate robberies in Erie County in 1993, John Wesley McMillan died while serving a sentence of up to 50 years in prison. In January 2019, he was killed in a violent altercation with three prison officers. According to the federal lawsuit, McMillan’s death was declared a murder by a medical examiner despite the fact that he had schizophrenia and other mental health issues.
Great Meadow is one of the state’s most violent prisons, with one of the highest percentages of police using force on inmates, according to data from the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
McMillan grew irate after a prison officer ordered him to go to his cell after he exited a dining hall, according to the lawsuit, which was filed over the weekend in U.S. District Court in Albany. McMillan was then hit in the face by a cop before being brought to the ground and battered by more officers. According to the lawsuit, they eventually applied pressure to his head and neck while handcuffing him.
“Inmate witnesses have described observing the correction officers punch, kick, stomp on and choke Mr. McMillan during the incident,” the complaint states. “After Mr. McMillan was placed in shackles, he was unable to stand on his own and was clearly in physical discomfort, to the point where a prison officer present said that a stretcher was required after an effort to transport Mr. McMillan.”
Instead, cops are accused of dragging McMillan, who had lost consciousness, to the hospital by his chained arms. According to the complaint, a prison officer filmed the event and the officers’ transport of McMillan to the infirmary as required, but he reportedly failed to focus the camera on the inmate, making little of the incident apparent.
A nurse told cops to contact 911 after McMillan was placed on a stretcher on his side in the infirmary, still handcuffed, and a defibrillator was used along with cardiopulmonary resuscitation to try to resuscitate the dying man. An ambulance took 45 minutes to get to the prison, and another 30 minutes to transport him to Glens Falls Hospital, where he was declared dead two hours after the event occurred.
McMillan’s death was ruled a murder by the state Commission of Correction, which investigated inmate fatalities, owing to the officers’ use of force, which resulted in a fatal compression injury in his neck and thoracic cavities. It’s insane that while police on the street are constantly called out for there brutality much of the violence that goes on behind bars go’s unnoticed by the public.
The panel also determined that the officer who filmed the event broke the law by failing to focus the camera and that a supervisor failed to adequately monitor McMillan’s health.
McMillan’s widow is suing for “physical injuries, significant emotional and psychological distress, dread of approaching death, pre-death horror, agony and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life” suffered by her late husband.
It’s unclear whether any of the correction officers involved were disciplined as a result of the event. The state’s correctional department officials could not be reached for comment right away, shocker.
McMillan shot two store workers with a small-caliber pistol during separate robberies, according to the Buffalo News in 1994. Both victims were shot, but they survived their injuries.