I-TEAM: Inmate's phone calls describe night of jailhouse beating

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says the calls speak for themselves

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An inmate severely injured inside the Duval County jail in April made several phone calls that night claiming he was beaten by a group of inmates.

Both the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the victim’s attorney said recordings of the calls, obtained by the I-TEAM back up their claims.

The News4Jax investigation of Gordon Shutt began last month when his attorney blamed the Sheriff Office for deleting video of the fight before the office was supposed to -- a violation of its own policy. 

Shutt was booked into the Duval County jail on a charge of driving on a suspended license. While in jail, Shutt said he was beaten by several inmates after using the pay phone.

In one call to his girlfriend that night, Shutt was asking her to get money to bail him out and drive him home. In one call he told her: “I just got into a huge fight. My face is real (expletive) up my tooth is (expletive).”

Shutt called her back later and talked more about what happened.

"The phone situation in here is literally controlled by a gang,” Shutt told her, going on to say if he touched anything around the phone, "It's going to be a serious blank blank."

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said it's not usual that gangs made up by race groups operate in the jail. He said a fight could happen out of camera range and the guards not be aware of what is going on.

Shutt made more calls the following day to his girlfriend. In one he talked about his injuries.

”My jaw is broken for sure. I’d be willing to bet money on it,” Shutt said.

He said that he will have to go to the emergency room when he gets out.

It was his last a phone conversation in jail that day that the Sheriff's Office said is most telling. He talked about why he did not tell a corrections officer about what happened.

“I don’t remember much of it, but what I do remember is when I was stumbling back into my room, there was someone behind me that was cleaning up all of the blood so the guards did not see it,” Shutt said in the call. "They were all scared to death that I was going to go up and hit the button and narc on them.”  

Shutt ended the call saying: "That wouldn’t have done me any good. I would’ve just died in here or gotten it again."

Shutt’s attorney, John Phillips blames the Sheriff's Office for not protecting Shutt or giving him medical attention at that time. The JSO is not commenting beyond saying the calls speak for themselves, showing that he never told officials about what happened until he hired an attorney.

Phillips disagrees. He supplied News4Jax jail records that show the facility was put on lockdown around the same time the fight occurred, although he can't be sure if that lockdown was related to the beating of his client. 

The Sheriff's Office told that there's a lockdown of inmates at the jail every night at that time.

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