PANAMA CITY — A former Chipley prison guard will be facing up to a year in federal prison for punching an inmate multiple times in the face in 2014 after the inmate was caught attempting to sneak cookies back to his bunk, according to court records.
Former Sgt. Anthony Sheffield recently pleaded guilty in connection with the case. He was indicted in April in the Northern District of Florida U.S. Federal Court for attacking a North West Florida Reception Center (NWFRC), 100 N. Palafox Street in Chipley, inmate after he was caught leaving the food area with cookies in his clothing. Sheffield faces up to a year in federal prison followed by a year of supervised released for violating the inmate’s right to not endure cruel and unusual punishment.
Sheffield will be sentenced Thursday.
The beating, which occurred Dec. 24, 2014, only recently came to light because a witnessing officer, Dennis Davidson, faced perjury charges in a court proceeding.
Davidson “stated that Sgt. Sheffield had punched B.G., but only after B.G. punched him first,” officials wrote. “Davidson admitted that when he was interviewed by the FBI in March 2015 he stated no such assault took place. He stated he lied to the FBI during the initial interview.”
Afterward, Sheffield admitted punching the inmate without any lawful cause.
According to court records, the inmate — identified only as B.G. — was caught about 1:30 p.m. Dec. 24, 2014, while he had on him what officers described as “contraband: i.e. extra cookies.” B.G. was then taken to a medical building to have a pre-confinement medical exam, records state.
“Upon inmate B.G.’s arrival in medical … Sheffield arrived and a white female officer departed,” officials wrote. “B.G. said that while in the exam room, he asked if he was really being sent to confinement for cookies and when he was told yes, he got ‘mouthy’ with Sgt. Sheffield.”
Sheffield then threatened to attack B.G. once in confinement.
As Sheffield and Davidson escorted B.G. to confinement after he had been cleared by the medical staff, they stopped in another medical room without surveillance capabilities. There, while wearing gloves, Sheffield punched B.G. twice in the face and then sat him in a chair to clean the blood from his face.
“According to B.G., Davidson did not participate in the physical assault; but rather he assisted in cleaning up after the assault,” officials wrote. “Video shows Davidson and Sheffield taking B.G. from the medical triage room.”
Inmates, officers and medical staff noticed the injuries to B.G.’s face that were not there when he left the pre-confinement medical exam. He sustained several lacerations to his face, swelling and bruising to his left eye and left jaw. Investigators later found a latex glove in the triage room containing DNA from B.G. and blood from B.G. Sheffield and Davidson, however, denied the assault until 2017, court records show.
Court records indicate that Davidson has not been charged with providing the FBI false statements.