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Video: Inmates rush to save CO being strangled with pillowcase in jail

Deputy Lillian Jimenez is seen standing in a restroom doorway when an inmate comes from behind and throws a twisted pillowcase around her neck


Photo/Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A coordinated prison attack was caught on surveillance video in Florida as an inmate threw a pillowcase around a guard’s neck and began choking her from behind.

It happened at 1 a.m. June 7 in the Hillsborough County detention center, and the guard survived when other inmates rushed to help her, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

In the video, deputy Lillian Jimenez is seen standing in a restroom doorway when an inmate identified as Bridgette Harvey, 42, comes from behind and throws a twisted pillowcase around her neck.

Harvey is seen pulling back on the pillowcase, in an apparent attempt to strangle the guard.

Their struggle then moves beyond the camera’s range, but other inmates are seen getting out of their beds and running to help the guard.

Jimenez was able to call for help on her radio during the brawl, but other inmates rushed in first and were able to save her, the sheriff’s office said.

“Several inmates came to her rescue by removing the pillowcase from around her neck and freeing her from Harvey’s grip,” according to a news release.

“The Emergency Response Team escorted Deputy Jimenez out of the pod. Harvey was subsequently secured in restraints and removed. ... Harvey confessed to planning the assault.”

Another inmate, 37-year-old April Colvin, is accused of luring the deputy into the restroom doorway before Harvey choked her from behind, the sheriff’s office said.

A search found Harvey was armed with a comb that had been sharpened into a weapon, officials said.

“While these inmates put our deputy in danger, there were others who did the right thing by coming to her aid, and for that, I am grateful,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the release.

“Thanks to the quick response of our Emergency Response Team and the inmates who showed compassion to help our deputy, a dire situation turned into the safe rescue of Deputy Jimenez.”

The inmates who helped were praised on the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

“May your courage and bravery be noticed,” Chaleeta Mullins wrote.

“Not all inmates are bad people. It’s great that they stepped in and helped,” Serena Paone posted.

“Something like that should shave off a little time (on their sentence) depending on the crime,” Delilah Morgan said.

Harvey has been charged with “aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a weapon (great bodily harm), introduction of contraband into a detention facility, and escape from confinement (x2),” the sheriff’s office said.

Colvin was identified as her “co-conspirator” and is charged with escape from confinement, officials said.

“Two additional inmates were also removed from the pod and all four inmates involved were moved into solitary confinement for the roles they played in the assault,” the sheriff’s office said.

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