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Posted: April 16, 2013 12:10 p.m.

State prison guards accused of attacking inmates

ATLANTA (AP) — A deputy warden and seven members of a specially trained team of guards at a state prison have been indicted on charges of repeatedly attacking inmates.

The indictment, filed this week in U.S. District Court, accuses members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team of beating inmates in retaliation for previous assaults on prison guards at Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe.

The indictment outlines several attacks that prosecutors say were carried out by the team members.

For instance, five of the team members are accused of either attacking an inmate in a prison gymnasium or watching the attack and not preventing it around Dec. 14, 2010.

Later that month, team members responded to a dorm where an inmate had assaulted an officer. They escorted the inmate from the dorm to the gymnasium, where a prison sergeant told the prisoner, "Don't mess with my officers!," the indictment states. Members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team then assaulted the inmate, according to the indictment.

The defendants are also accused of taking steps to mislead investigators about the attacks and cover up evidence.

Prosecutors say that in one attack around Dec. 16, 2010, after an inmate was beaten and taken from the prison in an ambulance, four of the team members encouraged each other to give false statements regarding the prisoner's injuries.

It wasn't immediately known whether the defendants have attorneys.

The prison is about 115 miles south of Atlanta. It was opened in 1994, and has a capacity of 1,762, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

This week's indictments are part of an investigation that has involved the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Georgia. The investigation resulted in three officers pleading guilty to charges in connection with the probe, prosecutors announced in October as the investigation continued.

"We count on the guards in our prison system to not only do an important job, but to do their duties in a way that respects their positions of authority, the law and ultimately the population they supervise," Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in October.

"Abuses of authority, under any circumstances, have no place in our prison system and will not be tolerated by my office," Moore said at the time.

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