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Graphic Video: Prison Guards Watch as Teen Inmate Ashley Smith Kills Herself
A 2007 graphic video filmed by prison guards of teenage inmate Ashley Smith slowly choking herself to death was played this week during a court inquest into the teen's death.
Smith died at Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women in Ontario, Canada on October 19, 2007.
When the video begins, the prison guards had been debating for 10 minutes what to do about Smith, reports CBC News.
The prison guards had been told that Smith was seeking attention and were instructed not to intervene unless she stopped breathing.
The prison guards watched Smith on the floor, between a bed and the wall, as her dying gasps were recorded on the video, reported the Globe and Mail.
One prison guard finally says: "It’s been long enough for me to take that off. Sit up so you can come over here and I can cut it off. Ashley. Can you get it off yourself?"
As Smith turns a deep purple and is motionless, the prison guards enter the cell and try to rouse her by slapping her on the back. The guards finally try CPR, although one admits that it has been 11 years since her CPR training.
The cameraperson was Valentino Burnett, a correctional officer, who stated in court: "While I was videotaping her, I saw her chest rising on a number of occasions. I saw her breathing on a number of occasions. As far as I was concerned, I was videotaping a live person."
Burnett said it was not his job to save her life and that he was "just concerned with doing what I was asked to do."
Burnett and three other prison employees were originally charged for their role in Smith’s death, but the charges were dropped.
Smith was first arrested at age 13 for assault and causing a disturbance and was jailed at 15 after throwing apples at a postman.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
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