- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

ST. GABRIEL, La. (AP) - Officials say a newly hired officer at a Louisiana prison is being fired after allegedly hitting an inmate.

A prison system spokesman says 23-year-old corrections cadet Eric Lands is charged with simple battery.

Prison spokesman Ken Pastorick says a surveillance camera and several witnesses saw Lands repeatedly hit a prisoner while escorting him back to his cell on Sunday.

Pastorick says witnesses told investigators that Lands struck the inmate after he spit in the cadet’s face at Elayn Hunt prison in St. Gabriel.

Lands was still on probationary status following his hiring seven months ago. The spokesman says he passed a criminal background check before joining the department.

Phone records don’t list a number for Lands, and court records aren’t available to show whether he has a lawyer.

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