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Second prison officer pleads guilty in inmate attack

September 6, 2019

TIPTONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A second Tennessee correctional officer has pleaded guilty to beating a prison inmate in an attack that federal prosecutors say involved other officers.

A news release from the U.S. Department of Justice says 22-year-old Tanner Penwell pleaded guilty Thursday to using unlawful force on an inmate.

Prosecutors say Penwell and four other correctional officers entered a cell in the mental health unit and took turns punching the inmate at Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville in February.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nathaniel Griffin was the first correctional officer to plead guilty. The Jackson Sun reports both Griffin and Penwell stated in their guilty pleas that they knew the assault was unlawful but didn’t stop it. Both say the inmate didn’t fight back.

Griffin and Penwell are scheduled to be sentenced in November.

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