File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Police kills inmate after officer was taken hostage

By The Washington Post Time of article published Mar 28, 2021

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By Brittany Shammas

Police fatally shot an inmate after a corrections officer was taken hostage Saturday at the Oklahoma County Jail.

The incident began just after 4 p.m., when at least one inmate overran the officer during "pill pass" and took him hostage, jail administrator Greg Williams said at a news conference. The inmate then used the guard's keys to free others in the 37-person pod, which houses those who are most difficult to manage.

Video shared on Facebook Live showed the chaotic scene inside the jail's walls. In the footage, inmates in black-and-white striped uniforms stood over an officer as he knelt on the ground. The man filming panned to reveal the inside of a cell, including a toilet that appears to be backed up.

"It ain't nothing against the C.O., man," he says. "We ain't got no mirrors in here. The water don't work, toilet backed up. This is what we dealing with."

Tactical officers from the Oklahoma City Police Department and the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office responded to the pod on the 10th floor of the jail. Sheriff Tommie Johnson III said that they tried to de-escalate the situation but that the inmate had the corrections officer "in a hostage position, with something held to his neck."

At that point, police fired shots. The corrections officer was taken to the hospital but walked out of the jail "on his own accord" and is expected "to be fine," Williams said. The man killed has not been publicly identified.

"I'm just glad that the detention officer wasn't more seriously hurt and we were able to get him out of there and protect him," Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley said.

As the jail remained in lockdown Saturday, several people gathered outside to protest conditions inside the facility, the Oklahoman reported.

The Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, leader of Black Lives Matter-Oklahoma City, told the newspaper that inmates spoke repeatedly of a lack of access to water and sanitation. She described the conditions in the jail as "inhumane."

Asked about the inmates' complaints, Williams said jail officials "manage those conditions continually." He said he had not yet been able to speak with any of the inmates involved.

An investigation is ongoing. Williams said officials will review policies and procedures, adding that he expects changes to be made.

The Washington Post

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