It's a government move to save money. But did it cost a man his life?
A new report questions the level of training security guards received before taking over a contract to transport prisoners.
Since last July, G4S drivers have been taking prisoners to the Pinellas County Jail at about half the price Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he used to pay deputies.
“It's a substantial savings and they've done it very well and without any incidents,” said Gualtieri.
But an investigation just wrapped up into the beating of Thomas Morrow by another inmate in the back of a transport van that showed G4S employees weren’t properly trained before starting the job.
Morrow was picked up by police last July after having too much to drink.
Moments later, investigators say he rolled out of his seat and was beaten by Leonard David Lanni, who had just been picked up for disorderly conduct.
“I couldn't believe that he was in the shape he was in, that someone had actually done this to him,” said Thomas’ wife, Sharon Morrow.
“He had sustained 11 separate rib fractures, a ruptured spleen, a collapsed lung, a lacerated liver. He had lacerations and contusions over virtually his entire body. And he had sustained severe brain damage,” said Michael Babboni, an attorney representing the Morrow family.
Ten weeks later, Morrow died.
“Having to deal with the whole medical situation for the next two-and-a-half months was like ripping my heart out of my chest every single day,” said Sharon Morrow.
Lanni was charged with Morrow's murder, but Babboni said Lanni wasn't the only one to blame.
He's suing G4S, alleging the driver, Andrey Izrailov, didn't follow proper procedures.
“He was not supervised. He was not trained,” said Babboni.
Izrailov resigned from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in 2009 amid investigations into multiple departmental policy violations.
The lawsuit alleges Izrailov failed to place Morrow in a seatbelt, didn't separate him from a violent prisoner and failed to quickly intervene, even though he could see the assault taking place on a video monitor.
G4S tells the I-Team that the company fully cooperated with the investigation and security officer Izrailov's actions were determined not to be the cause of this incident.
A report stemming from that investigation released last week indicated two Pinelllas County sheriff’s deputies received written reprimands for failing to properly train more than 20 G4S drivers.
“This should never have happened to anybody, regardless of the circumstances,” said Sharon Morrow.
G4S employs about 4,500 people in Florida, including 600 in the Tampa.