A New Orleans man convicted of murder in January in a high-profile case attacked a female deputy inside the city’s new jail this week, striking her several times in the face in a violent episode caught on surveillance video, authorities said Thursday.
Tyron “T-Man” Harden, 22, was in a high-security tier Wednesday night when he “got aggressive” and went after the deputy, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a written statement.
“A second deputy called for backup,” the statement said, “which arrived within seconds to gain control of the situation.”
The deputy, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital, but her injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Harden was expected to be rearrested on one count of second-degree battery.
The incident, which happened about 8 p.m., appears to be among the most serious acts of violence to occur inside the new, $150 million jail, which opened last month and replaced the notoriously dangerous Old Parish Prison.
News of the attack came on the same day that Susan McCampbell, an expert overseeing a court-ordered plan to reform the jail, told a federal judge that inmate-on-inmate attacks appear to be declining and “on a different level” from the severe assaults seen on an almost daily basis at OPP.
The new, 1,438-bed jail was expected to reduce violence, in part because it’s designed to allow deputies to directly monitor the activities of inmates at all times.
Harden, who has been implicated in at least one previous jailhouse attack, has been in custody for nearly nine months awaiting a mandatory life sentence. He and his co-defendants — Demond Sandifer and Sam Newman, both members of the 110ers gang — were convicted in a sprawling racketeering case that stemmed from the shocking 2012 murders of 5-year-old Briana Allen and Shawanna Pierce in Central City.
The guilty verdicts were hailed by local leaders as a milestone in the city’s fight against gang violence.
The shooting happened on Simon Bolivar Avenue when four men pulled up and opened fire on members of a rival gang attending a birthday party. Briana was fatally shot as she sat on her great-grandmother’s porch, while Pierce, a mother of three, was struck in the head by a stray bullet from an AK-47.
All three men face mandatory life sentences under state law. But at the request of his attorneys, Harden’s sentencing has been postponed until next month by Criminal District Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier, frustrating prosecutors’ efforts to have the man sent away to state prison.
Sandifer and Newman both were sentenced to life prison terms following earlier murder convictions.
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