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FBI investigating prisoner abuse in Kansas City, Missouri

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The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has started a civil rights investigation into the use of excessive force by guards at a county jail in Kansas City, Missouri.

A spokeswoman for the FBI office in Kansas City said Tuesday that special agents were investigating officer conduct and the use of force at the Jackson County Detention Center.

The local authorities have acknowledged four recent cases of “possible use of excessive force” by guards at the jail. But Jackson County officials said there was no apparent racial pattern to the incidents.

The recent injuries to four male inmates ranged from bruises and stitches to a man who suffered a broken head and neck even though he was restrained.

FBI agents are also investigating the case of Young Isinwa, a former corrections officer charged last month in the 2011 kicking of a restrained inmate in the head and back.

The restrained inmate was hospitalized with a broken back, a broken neck, two broken wrists and a punctured lung. Federal prosecutors said the inmate had been restrained and posed no threat.

Isinwa has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. He is no longer employed by Jackson County.

The criminal indictment accused him of using “unreasonable force” while “acting under the color of law,” and could result in a 10-year prison sentence if he is convicted.

US Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat who represents Missouri’s 5th congressional district, said the allegations of repeated abuse were troubling.

“Let’s take a look at the staff in these jails,” Cleaver said. “And figure out the kind of training that would be required to produce guards who are not going to misuse their power.”

Jackson County officials have ordered an independent review of detention center policies, separate from the FBI investigation.

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