Buffalo jail attendant pleads guilty to abuse of inmate

Could face up to 2 years in jail
Posted at 12:58 PM, May 30, 2017

Matthew J. Jaskula, a guard at the city lockup in downtown Buffalo, admitted Tuesday that he threw a handcuffed inmate face-first into a metal door, causing serious injuries to the defenseless man. 

Jaskula pleaded guilty to felony charges of deprivation of rights -- referred to by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo as "excessive force" -- stemming from the May 2016 incident in which he pushed a man who was handcuffed face-first into a door, causing the door to fly open. Investigators said the victim then hit his face again on a shelf before falling to the ground.

Jaskula admitted to dragging the victim 10 to 15 feet to an open cell, where he was left bleeding and put in a restraint chair used for non-compliant prisoners. Jaskula reportedly left the victim in the chair for about an hour and 45 minutes without seeking medical attention.

"He's ashamed," said Paul Dell, Jaskula's attorney. "And once you all see the video...it is what it is."

As part of the plea agreement, Jaskula is likely to face between 1 year and 3 months in prison to 1 year and 9 months in prison. He would have otherwise likely faced between 2 and 2 1/2 years in prison. 

The agreement mandated that Jaskula resign from his job at the downtown lockup. 

Dell sought to also place blame on the city's handling of the jail in the basement of Frank A. Sedita City Court, saying that guards like Jaskula are regularly overworked and exposed to dangerous conditions. He said two Buffalo police officers -- who were suspended after the incident -- watched the beating and cheered on Jaskula. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Guerra said the responsibility for the beating lies with Jaskula. 

"There was nobody from the police department making him do what he did," Guerra said. "What he did was his choice."

Jaskula will be sentenced Oct. 12.