After reading Alexandra Paul’s story regarding the alleged beating of HCI (Headingley Correctional Institute) prisoner Jeremy Peters (33), I was left wondering if there was any substance to the complaint or was this just another lame attempt at five minutes of fame by an inmate bored with prison tedium.
In late June, Peters, a Long Plain First Nations resident, was convicted of theft and was sentenced to ninety (90) days in custody. At the time of the alleged assault, he was waiting for Sheriffs Officers to transport him to the Milner Ridge Correctional Center where he was to serve his sentence.
In a telephone interview with the Winnipeg Free Press reporter, Peters confirmed he’d taunted the guards and repeatedly asked when the Sheriffs Officers were going to arrive. Peters alleges the verbal confrontation escalated to the point he was assaulted by up to five (5) HCI guards. Peters reports he suspects his hand was broken and he can’t persuade correction officials at Milner Ridge to authorize an x-ray. (Peters has seen a Doctor and was prescribed pain killers.)
Members of Peters family have appealed to the RCMP and Justice Minister Andrew Swan for medical care they indicate Peters has been denied since the alleged incident. It would seem that a Justice Department review and RCMP investigation is underway.
Peters common law wife, Lucille Woods and Long Plains Justice advocate Peter Yellowquill told the Winnipeg Free Press they worry the incident may have left Peters with a broken wrist. In letters to Justice Minister Swan, Woods & Yellowquill indicate Peters “wasn’t without blame” but suggested there was no excuse for the guards alleged abuse. “We are informed that the assault took place after instigation and questionable conduct by both parties. A refusal of the inmates request to be fed seems to have been the trigger,” the letter states.
Woods & Yellowquill have also developed a conspiracy theory regarding what they consider to be a lack of proper medical attention provided to Peters. In a second letter dated July 5th, they write; “Mr. Peters has the right to prompt medical attention. We feel that the doctor is stalling and providing cursory attention and is deliberately denying requests for X-rays. We are of the opinion at this time that this is to allow (for) healing and (to) protect the guards.”
Woods indicates she’s concerned Peters could be permanently handicapped as a result of the refusal to provide him proper treatment.
After reading the story I was left scratching my head.
A convicted inmate admittedly initiates a confrontation with prison guards and now wants to make allegations of assault against them. Whether it was incessant requests for food or endless queries regarding his transport, Jeremy Peters clearly provoked a confrontation with the HCI guards.
What Peters, Woods & Yellowquill don’t understand is HCI guards are not paid to take abuse from aggressive convicts like Peters. Peters provocations were undoubtedly perceived by the guards as escalating threats to their safety. In situations like these, pre-emptive action is often required to prevent officer assaults. Simply put, the guards don’t have to wait until a prisoner blows up and assaults one of them before they act. In this case, up to five (5) guards participated in efforts to control Peters and defuse a confrontational situation initiated by the offender.
To me, that is a job well done.
The fact Peters only injury to speak of is a sore hand speaks volumes regarding the restraint the five (5) Officers used to control him. In fact, Peters suggestion he may have a broken hand calls his assertion he was a “victim” in an assault into question. Anyone with any experience in hand to hand combat, boxing or mixed martial arts will tell you that punching people is often the cause of fractured bones in one’s hand. The fact Peters may have a broken hand raises even more questions regarding his alleged victimization.
Was Jeremy Peters a victim of assault or was he an actively aggressive combatant?
In a perfect world, an inmate who initiates a confrontation with his jail guards gets whatever “medicine” he deserves. There would be no enquiries by the Justice Minister or the RCMP, no letters from common law wives or Justice advocates and no pressure put on the public purse by frivolous and vexatious complaints by inmates or habitual criminals.
Broken hand or not, Jeremy Peters was the author of his own demise and he should learn from his experience.
Next time, be polite, respect your gate keepers and keep your big mouth shut.