Second New Orleans inmate accused of vandalizing sprinkler, causing flooding in new $150 million jail _lowres

Erik Beasley

Another New Orleans inmate has been accused of damaging a sprinkler and causing “extensive flooding” in the city’s new $150 million jail, according to court records.

The inmate, Erik Beasley, 36, who was jailed last month in a home invasion case, faces new felony charges in a Wednesday incident that flooded a main hallway.

The vandalism is at least the second case of its kind since the new lockup opened in mid-September.

Deputies noticed water flowing into the hallway Wednesday and, after entering pod 2-A, spotted “extensive flooding from a broken sprinkler head” in Beasley’s cell, according to an Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office report. Investigators found the inmate had tampered with the sprinkler cap, causing it to come off, the report says.

The next morning, investigators reviewed surveillance footage from the pod and watched images of Beasley “putting soap on his cell’s window, obstructing the view into his cell,” the report says.

Beasley declined to give a statement to investigators and was booked on one count of “tampering with monitoring systems.” Hours before the flood, Beasley had been accused of slapping the buttocks of a passing deputy three times. He was booked on misdemeanor sexual battery in that case.

According to the Sheriff’s Office report, the previous flood began in the same cell after a different inmate damaged a sprinkler head Sept. 29.

In that incident, jail officials said they had to shut down the fire suppression system for the entire jail after inmate Eddie Watson pried off the cap of the sprinkler. A Sheriff’s Office report for that case said water flowed “all the way through the tier, beyond the interlock and down hallways on the second floor.”

Authorities have said fire code regulations require that sprinklers be placed in each cell of the jail.

Follow Jim Mustian on Twitter, @JimMustian.