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Corrections Officer Wants Justice Following Alleged Inmate Attack

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Michele-Gillen-600x450 Michele Gillen
Michele Gillen is chief investigative reporter at WFOR-TV, Mi...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was an early morning one Miami Dade Corrections Officer says she will never forget. A frightening free-for-all, she recalled as inmates went out of control on the 6th floor of the Miami-Dade Jail.

A camera captured some of the chaos when the officer said she was attacked.

In a phone interview with CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen, the officer said, “It was a traumatic and devastating experience. Physically and emotionally.”

The corrections officer said she responded to another officer she believed was being threatened and hit by an inmate. She said she then found herself surrounded by inmates. One of them, whom she identified as Derrick Harrell, reportedly punched her in the face and chest. At least one inmate, she said, grabbed her private parts.

When her safety was finally secured, she went to the hospital but 9-1-1 was not called and she did not file a police report that day in December.

Gillen asked her if she thought about calling police.

“When I left that night the only thing I could think of was… I was traumatized. The only thing I could think of was my daughter.”

It was three months later when she said she realized that the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections never called police. The police report was filed this past March and police charged Derrick Harrell with battery on a correctional officer.

“I want justice,” she said.

The video, provided to WFOR-TV from a confidential source, captured some of the incidents that morning which are under review in multiple investigations.

Critics of the jail system have spoken out.

“We have an issue where an officer has been viciously attacked. That’s a major Incident. For that not to be taken as a major incident that’s shameful,” said Greg Rollins, civilian administrator.

CBS4 reached out to the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections, the State Attorneys office and the Mayor’s office all of which said given the ongoing open investigations, they cannot comment.

Inmate Harrell is expected in court Thursday for a hearing on the charge of battery against a corrections officer.

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