| Crime |

Former Jailer Indicted for Punching Handcuffed Inmate

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted a former jailer at the Harris County Jail who apparently hit an inmate in the chest so hard that the inmate fell to the ground.

According to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, Carrington Phillips was escorting the inmate in the jail last October when an argument broke out between them. Even though the inmate was handcuffed and couldn't fight back, Phillips punched the wind out of him. When the inmate fell down, he hit his head on either the floor or a door jam and began bleeding “profusely.”

The incident was caught on tape. Phillips, if convicted, will face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for the misdemeanor assault.

“Jailers must be held to a high standard in safeguarding the rights of inmates in their custody,” said Civil Rights Division Chief Julian Ramirez in a statement. “When we have sufficient evidence that they have violated this public trust, we will pursue criminal charges.”

And as the Houston Chronicle reported in a six-part series on jail conditions, yes, this happens a lot. There was the mentally ill 72-year-old man who died after a guard who had 11 previous use-of-force incidents on his record punched him in the face, causing him to fall back, hit his head and bleed to death. There was the man who, cursing guards for not bringing him a blanket, ended up needing nine stitches after a guard threw him against a metal bunk, gashing his head. And it happens at the Houston Police Department jail, too. As we reported in December, a former HPD jailer pleaded guilty to punching a mentally ill inmate in the face several times, then lying to his colleagues about what happened.

That former jailer is still on probation and reports every weekend to the “Sheriff's Work Program,” where, as we reported last December, he will do manual labor “predominantly outside in the elements...YOU WILL GET DIRTY AND POSSIBLY WET,” the instructions say.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.