3 guards accused in attack, cover-up at NJ women's prison

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Three prison guards face misconduct charges stemming from a violent attack on at least six female inmates, including one who was punched 28 times, New Jersey’s attorney general said Thursday.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said prosecutors found that the guards tried to cover up the attack at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women by filing false reports. He said the attack happened early Jan. 11 and involved about two dozen guards.

Dozens of corrections officers at the Clinton prison — New Jersey's only women's prison — were placed on paid leave last month, following allegations that staff brutally beat and sexually assaulted inmates there.

One woman, Ajila Nelson, told NJ.com that officers on Jan. 11 handcuffed her and others, before punching, kicking, stripping and dragging her to a shower, after which she says an unidentified male officer got on top of her and groped and sexually assaulted her.

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A transgender woman incarcerated at the facility was beaten by a group of officers and three officers stomped on her head, her mother, Trimeka Rollins, told the newspaper. Her daughter’s knee was so badly damaged that she’s now using a wheelchair, Rollins said.

Grewal said Thursday the criminal investigation was still in its early stages.

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy named former state comptroller Matt Boxer as an independent investigator into the allegations.