Corrections officers are accustomed to hearing complaints from inmates about the facilities in which they are held, but this weekend, an act of protest taken by a prisoner in Oklahoma City unfortunately led to his own demise.
According to local ABC affiliate KOCO, an incarcerated individual at the Oklahoma County Jail took a correctional officer hostage while complaining of conditions inside the detention center and, despite police attempts to de-escalate the situation, was fatally shot as a result.
Fox News reported that the incident unfolded on the 10th floor of the facility – the area known for lodging prisoners deemed difficult to manage – while a jail staffer was delivering medication to inmates.
It was then that one of the prisoners accosted the corrections officer, tied him up, grabbed his radio, and took his keys, a fact which resulted in the release of several other inmates in the same pod.
According to the Washington Examiner, Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson III said that jail officials on the scene made de-escalation attempts, but once they observed that the inmate had placed the corrections officer in a “hostage position” and was holding an object to his neck, shots were fired and the assailant was killed.
The jail employee who had been taken hostage was subsequently removed from the floor and was reportedly hospitalized to receive treatment for injuries sustained during the struggle.
Video posted by a reporter from local NBC affiliate KFOR shows the now-deceased inmate complaining about living conditions at the facility, saying “we can’t take showers,” and asserting that the corrections officer taken hostage was not necessarily to blame, adding “Ain’t got nothing to do with this CO. He just so happens to be a product of the situation.”
As news of the standoff broke, a group of concerned citizens gathered outside the facility, with Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson of Black Lives Matter-Oklahoma City saying that those held at this particular jail have long complained of a lack of water, moldy food, and an absence of basic levels of sanitation, as USA Today reported. Dickerson added that changes must be made not only to protect incarcerated individuals housed in the building, but also to safeguard the citizens who work there.
According to Oklahoma City police chief Wade Gourley, an investigation into the incident is underway, and Greg Williams, administrator for the Oklahoma County Jail Trust reported that the corrections officer involved in the frightening incident is doing well.