The state Department of Corrections has brought criminal charges against a prison guard who copied a recording on another officer being beaten and apparently distributed it to media, according to WSMV TV.
Elaine Rollison was charged with bringing contraband into a prison, the Turney Center Industrial Complex in Hickman County — the contraband being the cell phone she used to make a copy of a video showing the beating of a correctional officer.
…“Every action taken by Officer Rollison was taken with the best interests and safety of the correctional officers employed at the Turney Center in mind. She committed no unlawful acts and broke no laws,” said Jonathan Farmer, her attorney, in an email statement.
The Department of Correction disagreed, not only having her arrested but placing her under investigation.
“Officer Rollison was arrested on charges of introduction of contraband, a Class E felony,” TDOC said in a written statement. “At this time she is on leave. An investigation is ongoing and still very active. No further information is available at this time…. (T)he introduction of contraband of any kind, by anyone, is a felony and will not be tolerated by the Tennessee Department of Correction. Our agents work diligently to investigate contraband cases across the state and we will vigorously prosecute those cases.”
…“This is the most unprecedented act of retaliation I have witnessed in this state,” said state Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville.
Stewart, a frequent critic of the Department of Correction, believes Rollison is being targeted for being a whistleblower.
“The notion of charging someone criminally for that is completely unprecedented, completely outrageous and it must be nothing else but an act of retaliation,” said Stewart.
Stewart has now launched a website for correctional officers to send in information about prisons.
He said what happened to Rollison shows why the website is needed.
“So that people can remain anonymous and send information about the dangers they are facing behind the walls,” said Stewart.