[guest post by Dana]
The two guards who were in the jail unit where Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours, then falsified records to cover up their mistake, a law enforcement official and a prison official said on Tuesday.
Those disclosures came as the two guards were placed on administrative leave and the warden of the jail, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, was temporarily reassigned, pending the outcome of the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s death, the Justice Department announced.
The two correctional officers in the special housing unit where Mr. Epstein was held — 9 South — falsely recorded in a log that they had checked on the financier, who was facing sex trafficking charges, every 30 minutes, as was required, the officials said. Such false entries in an official log could constitute a federal crime.
In fact, the guards had been asleep for some or all of the three hours, the officials said.
The warden, Lamine N’Diaye, will be transferred to a Bureau of Prison office in Philadelphia while the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s inspector general conduct inquiries. The Justice Department said in a statement that it might take additional punitive actions.
According to officials, the guards had not looked in on Epstein for three hours before he was found dead. Note: one of the two guards was a former correctional officer whose current position did not involve overseeing prisoners. Also, both of the guards were working overtime because of a staff shortage.
There will be an “after-action team” visiting the prison tomorrow to investigate whether all protocols were followed by staff before Epstein died.
I also wanted to mention that Buzzfeed News has reported that news of Jeffrey Epstein’s death was posted on 4Chan before any public announcement was made:
Almost 40 minutes before ABC News first reported Epstein’s death on Twitter, someone posted still-unverified details on 4chan, the anonymous message board popular with far-right trolls and white nationalists.
“[D]ont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this,” read the post, which was published at 8:16 a.m. alongside an image of Pepe, the green frog that has become a mascot for right-wing internet trolls.
That message was posted 38 minutes before the first tweet about Epstein’s death from Aaron Katersky, an ABC News reporter, at 8:54 a.m. Five minutes later, the main ABC News account tweeted an article about Epstein’s death.
After publishing the post, other 4chan users egged on the author. When they expressed doubt, the original poster added more information to the discussion thread, including a detailed breakdown of the procedures allegedly used to resuscitate Epstein, which suggest the poster may have been a first responder, medical worker, or otherwise privy to details about efforts to resuscitate the disgraced financier.
The New York Fire Department has determined that the information did not come from the Fired Department. The president of the union for EMT workers Local 2507 in New York said that it “looks like a 3rd party info.” Also, there have been no comments from teh medical examiner’s office, the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Dr. Keith Wesley, an emergency medicine physician who has authored several EMS textbooks and articles, viewed the 4chan post at BuzzFeed News’ request and said it lays out standard procedures for paramedics.
“This sounds like standard American Heart Association guidelines, which most EMS agencies use,” Wesley said.
Part of the post refers to “telemetry advised bicarb.” According to Wesley, this could mean the first responders were also speaking with the hospital as they were trying to resuscitate their patient.
Screenshot / 4chan
“Telemetry implies the paramedics were in contact with a medical control hospital who then gave orders to give Sodium Bicarbonate, bicarb which is designed to reverse the acid buildup in the blood from prolonged cardiac arrest,” Wesley said in an email.
“If one of the medics posted this separately that’s a breach of protocol,” he added. “If there was identifying information on the patient, that is a violation of Federal HIPPA law.”
You can view the 4Chan posts at the link.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)