Former Jail Guard Heading to Federal Prison

Columbia, SC (WLTX)- A former Richland County jail guard was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $28,000 in restitution to the victim in federal court on Wednesday.

Robin Smith, 38, pleaded guilty to violating the rights of Robert Sweeper III. Sweeper was arrested on the University of South Carolina's Campus in February of 2012. Sweeper was charged with trespassing. Prosecutors say Smith used unprovoked force against Sweeper, twisting his wrist and arm and kicking him in the upper body. Sweeper was hospitalized for his injuries.

"You can't beat somebody because they won't comply," said assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Drake.

"It was a spontaneous event. It was a regrettable occurrence," said attorney I.S. Leevy Johnson.

The prosecution and defense agreed Smith should not have used excessive force against the handcuffed inmate.

"He has shed some insight that there was some provocation but it was probably as a result of not intentional behavior of Mr. Sweeper, but my client overreacted," said Johnson.

Smith was fired by the county after the incident.

After the assault, Sweeper filed a lawsuit against the county, calling for them to pay his medical bills and asking for punitive damages.


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