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Bladen county attorney: SBI won't be called to investigate jail beating case

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ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) -- Bladen county commissioners met for the first time Monday night since an inmate was beaten in the county jail.

Commissioners said the recent case of violence would not be added to the agenda but would be discussed in a private session. County Attorney Leslie Johnson says the Sheriff's Office is still gathering details as to what led to several inmates severely beating fellow inmate Joshua Ward. "It’s not a hate crime that the SBI is involved in. The sheriff's department and the sheriff himself are very sincerely doing everything they can do to make sure this does not happen again."

Joshua Ward, 30, was arrested almost two weeks ago for failure to appear on a traffic infraction. Within two hours of being behind bars, at least four other inmates beat him so severely, he was hospitalized in critical condition. He suffered broken ribs, two black eyes, gashes to his face and a blood clot between his brain and skull.

Just days later, former Bladen County Jailer Marcus Hubbard contacted WWAY. In an exclusive interview, Hubbard told WWAY's Cacky Catlett he witnessed extreme violence among inmates and his reports of the violence yielded no further action. He also said he observed jailers being lax on the job. "They sleep on the job. I even complained about that but that fell on deaf ears," Hubbard said.

Johnson says fights are to be expected. "Nobody wants anybody to get injured in jail," Johnson said. "It’s not a pleasant thing at any time but fights happen all the time. This isn't the first one across the state."

The sheriff's office is still conducting an internal investigation.

"Let it run its course. Just give us an opportunity. It’s just been two weeks," Johnson said.

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