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Cd'A man allegedly attacked inmate in prison video

by David Cole
| December 4, 2010 8:00 PM

James Haver, of Coeur d'Alene, was named as the man who brutally attacked a fellow inmate at the privately run Idaho Correctional Center in Boise - a facility dubbed "gladiator school" because of regular violence there.

The attack has received a wave of publicity starting late last month after the Associated Press obtained a copy of surveillance video of the attack on Hanni Elabed, 24. Correctional officers looked on, but didn't intervene, the video shot Jan. 18 shows.

Haver, affiliated with a violent prison gang, stomped on Elabed a dozen times. Elabed suffered bleeding inside his skull and spent multiple days in a coma.

He was released early from his sentence because his injuries were too serious to remain in prison.

He has brain damage.

A Kootenai County Sheriff's Department spokesman said Friday that Haver, 25, was arrested here in February 2004 for possession of a controlled substance and carrying a concealed weapon.

In addition, he was jailed here in February 2005 for aggravated assault, aggravated battery, being a fugitive from justice and violating probation. According to the Idaho Department of Correction, he currently is in prison for aggravated battery.

Jail information collected when he was arrested showed Haver was 5 feet 5 inches tall, and weighed 145 pounds.

Elabed's attorney, Ben Schwartzman, said Hanni informed prison officials about drug smuggling and rules infractions by a white supremacist prison gang known as the "Aryan Knights."

Hanni also told officials at the prison that a guard there was possibly involved with the Aryan Knights group, Schwartzman said.

The attorney said Haver has gang affiliations, and is primarily tied to an organization known as the "SVC," or "Severely Violent Criminals."

He said the two gangs perform "work" - such as assaults, threats and hits - for one another in Idaho prisons.

So, after Hanni went to prison officials about the Aryan Knights, revenge was carried out. Since the Aryan Knights didn't have someone in the area where Hanni was being housed, Haver was called on to handle the white supremacists' work.

The Press reported in January 2005, that Haver, at age 19, was wanted for attempted murder charges for alleged involvement in a shooting in Huetter. Those charges were later reduced.

Haver and another man were wanted after a report that shots were fired from a handgun at 4750 E. Reeves St.

Investigators at the time reported that Haver and the other man went to the residence and began fighting with its occupants. As the two fled, one of them took out a handgun and fired at the occupants as they came out of the house.

Two people were struck by bullets and taken to Kootenai Medical Center for treatment, though the injuries weren't life-threatening.

At the prison in Boise, the footage of Haver's attack on Elabed is a key piece of evidence for critics who claim the Idaho Correctional Center uses inmate-on-inmate violence to force prisoners to snitch on their cellmates or risk being moved to extremely violent units.

Hours after the AP published the video, the top federal prosecutor in Idaho told the AP that the FBI has been investigating whether guards violated the civil rights of inmates at the prison, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America.

The investigation concerns the prison's rate of violence and covers multiple assaults between inmates, including the attack on Elabed, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report

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