Martin County corrections sergeant accused of punching incarcerated man
Sheriff William Snyder said his investigators found evidence that a corrections sergeant punched an incarcerated man at the Martin County Jail several times on June 6.
Sgt. Stephen Piekara was arrested Monday, said sheriff’s spokesperson Christine Christophek, and faces a felony battery charge.
“I make no excuses for what he did. There’s no alibi for it. There’s no way to explain it away,” Snyder said. “There’s no way to rationalize it. If the circumstances are determined by a trier of fact to have occurred as we believe them to be, I think he faces a fairly serious sanction.”
He said Piekara has been working in the corrections department since 2011 and before that worked for the State of Florida Department of Corrections.
During a regularly scheduled medical assessment for the man, who uses a wheelchair, the corrections sergeant punched him three to four times causing contusions on his head, Snyder said.
Before the incident, the man had a “verbal altercation” with Piekara and rolled toward him with his wheelchair on purpose, according to the sheriff.
Piekara stopped the wheelchair. Snyder did not say whether he was injured.
The sheriff described that incident as a separate altercation and said it was “moments later” when the sergeant punched the man.
The sheriff said one of the nurses conducting the check-up on the man witnessed the attack.
The man was in jail awaiting a court appearance on drug-related charges and a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.