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ONLY ON 3: Jail beating victim speaks out

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Yesterday, we told you about a Bladen County man severely beaten in the county jail. Today, we spoke with Joshua Ward, 30, who is recovering from gashes to his head and three broken ribs.

"After that first or second hit to my face, I just curled up in a ball," Ward said in his room at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.

Ward is feeling the sting of pain. His chest and sides are intensely aching from several broken ribs after being beaten in the Bladen County Jail Tuesday afternoon. Although he decided to tell his side of what happened, it hurt him to even move his mouth after he took many blows to his jaw.

"I just went to sleep, and the next I know, they started beating me," he said.

Ward says after being arrested on a failure to appear warrant, deputies placed him in a cell with about seven other men. He said he kept to himself and told the other guys he was going to sleep. Ward remembers suddenly being awakened by two black men and a white man punching and dragging him.

"They drug me off the bunk," Ward said. "They continued to beat me. I remember hollering help and I just blacked out."

Investigators say those three men are Matthew Johnson, Twasjay Brown and Darryl Simmons. They are each charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury and second degree kidnapping.

"This is very unfortunate," Bladen County Sheriff Prentis Benston said. "We are taking this incident very seriously to make sure it does not happen again. We are conducting an internal investigation to see what changes need to be made."

Meanwhile, Ward maintains that he should not have been arrested in the first place for failure to appear in court on a traffic infraction.

"When I was arrested, it was shocking, because I had been in court," he said.

Sheriff Benston says security has been increased at the jail and an internal investigation is underway to look into what jail staff could have done to help avoid the beating.

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