Reports of jailed Capitol riot suspects treated horribly in lockup, one says guards beat him almost blind

A defendant being held in a Washington, D.C. jail following his arrest for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot claims he was beaten by guards and that he and others charged in the incident are regularly abused and mistreated.

“Myself and others involved in the Jan. 6 incident are scared for their lives, not from each other but from correctional officers,” said Ronald Sandlin during a bail hearing by video before U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich on Tuesday.

“I don’t understand how this is remotely acceptable,” he continued, adding that he was being subjected to “mental torture,” Politico reported.

The outlet went on to note that for several weeks, many of the inmates being held in the D.C. jail have complained about being locked in cells for 23 hours a day and having no other human contact, as well as being subjected to threats, intimidation, and acts of violence from guards.

Sandlin also testified that another inmate, Ryan Samsel, “was severely beaten by correctional officers, [is now] blind in one eye, has a skull fracture and detached retina.”

(Video: Fox News)

That account was corroborated by Fox News host Tucker Carlson during his opening monologue Tuesday as part of a broader discussion about how dozens of alleged rioters are still in jail while Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists, who have been rioting for months, faced little or no jail time.

“Tonight we learned that a number of people arrested on Jan. 6 are still rotting in the D.C. jail, the municipal lockup,” Carlson said. “That’s one of the foulest places in this country, it is a truly a repulsive and mismanaged place. Ask anyone from Washington, D.C., ‘What would you do not to be thrown into the D.C. jail?’ It’s that bad.”

He noted further that, according to sources, many inmates have been “beaten, not surprisingly, by guards” at the facility, as he went on to report on Samsel’s condition.

“How many Antifa rioters or BLM vandals can say that?” Carlson asked rhetorically. “Did they lose their eyesight from being beaten in jail? Well, as a group, they didn’t spend much time in jail, actually. Most were sprung on bail immediately when politicians like Kamala Harris helped them pay to get out.”

In his court appearance, Sandlin also testified that there was a great deal of racial tension between the mostly black guards and the mostly white inmates from the riot, many of whom have been accused of belonging to white supremacist groups.

He said that guards took “to the ground” one of the higher-profile inmates, 60-year-old Richard Barnett, who was photographed with his foot on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. Sandlin said one of the black guards declared, “I hate all white people and your honky religion.”

As Politico noted, Sandlin posted images of himself smoking a marijuana joint while in the Capitol Rotunda during the riot. He has been accused of grappling with several Capitol Police officers. 

Samsel, meanwhile, is on parole in Pennsylvania for an assault in New Jersey. He has been charged with spilling a barricade onto police officers and saying to one of them, “We don’t have to hurt you, why are you standing in our way?”

Barnett has been charged with criminal trespass and being armed with a stun gun. He is also charged with stealing a piece of mail from Pelosi’s office.

Defense lawyers representing Samsel and Barnett confirmed Sandlin’s court account after having been told about the incident by their clients and through interviews with their families and other attorneys.

“There is a pattern of abuse and of targeting of the defendants who are being held pursuant to what happened on Jan. 6. It is targeted. It is ruthless. It is nonstop,” said Barnett attorney Joseph McBride, Politico reported.

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Jon Dougherty

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