Gov. Phil Murphy declined to say whether charges against three guards at the state’s only women’s prison changed his thinking on keeping Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks in place Friday.
“Given the ongoing criminal investigation and an independent investigation, which I’ve ordered, I’ve said everything I’m going to say about Edna Mahan and any individuals for now,” Murphy said.
On Thursday, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced charges against an officer and two supervisors at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility related to inmate beatings there.
Luis Garcia, a 23-year-old Nutley resident, was charged with aggravated assault, official misconduct and tampering with public records after video showed he punched an inmate who had just been pepper sprayed in the face 28 times while she huddled against a cell wall in an attempt to shield herself.
Sgt. Amir Bethea was charged with official misconduct and tampering with public records for failing to disclose the inmate’s injuries.
Bethea and Sgt. Anthony Valvano were charged with official misconduct and tampering with public records over a separate incident that saw a handcuffed inmate beaten by one or more officers. The beating left her with an orbital wall fracture.
Dozens of other officers and supervisors have been suspended in the wake of beatings at the facility, and Grewal’s investigation remains ongoing.
A holdover from Gov. Chris Christie’s administration elevated by Murphy, Hicks has emerged as an incredibly embattled figure in recent weeks, as legislators began to voice calls for his resignation.
All 25 Senate Democrats have urged him to resign, as have a handful of members in the Assembly.