Florida corrections officer faces charges, firing after reported attack on hobbled inmate

(File photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A June incident involving a bedridden inmate that led to the arrest of a state corrections officer could also cost him his job, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Brandon Scott Brewer, 25, was taken into custody Sept. 21 on outstanding charges of battery on an inmate and official misconduct, both third-degree felonies, according to his arrest report.

The Department of Corrections is now "moving toward" the dismissal of Brewer, who currently works at the Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler, a department spokeswoman said Monday.

According to the arrest affidavit, an inmate reported that Brewer threatened to assault him while he was chained to a hospital bed at Memorial Hospital shortly before 7 a.m. June 7. The inmate reported Brewer returned an hour later and made good on that threat.

Behind closed doors, witnesses said Brewer could be heard calling the inmate a "no good child molester" and an expletive, according to the affidavit. The affidavit said Brewer slapped the inmate in the face and then began punching him. 

The inmate, who had major surgery days earlier to remove his gall gladder and repair a hernia, told investigators he was hooked up to a heart monitor and IV when it all unfolded.

Brewer stated in his use of force report that when he entered the hospital room, the inmate was yelling for a nurse and causing a disruption, according to the affidavit. Brewer stated he advised the inmate to use the call bell instead of yelling.

It was around that time, Brewer continued, that the inmate threatened to kill him. He added that the inmate grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him down, which prompted him to fight back until the inmate let go.

But that's not how Officer Barney Offenberg, who was present, remembered things. He stated he witnessed Brewer call the inmate a child molester and repeatedly punch him. He said he did not see the inmate threaten or provoke Brewer.

Police also spoke with a nurse who was asked to leave the room before the incident. She overheard the commotion and heard the inmate say, "You are not allowed to touch me and call me a pedophile." She said the inmate had a bloody nose and a cut under his eye when she returned.

The affidavit noted that while there was surveillance video showing the hospital room's exterior, it did not show what happened inside. The video did show Brewer enter and leave the room several times and, at some point, his shirt pocket was torn.

Based on the statements provided by Offenberg and the nurse, which contradicted Brewer's version of events, investigators concluded there was probable cause to indicate that Brewer "falsified his use of force report."