Prisoner provides video of Varner Unit disturbance | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Prisoner provides video of Varner Unit disturbance

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 9:47 AM

click to enlarge PRISON DISTURBANCE: Images captured on contraband cell phone. - KARK
  • KARK
  • PRISON DISTURBANCE: Images captured on contraband cell phone.
KARK/Fox 16 has aired contraband cell phone video following an assault on Correction Department officers last week at the Varner Unit.

A prisoner said one guard was stabbed and another beaten. The response was strong.

The prisoner, who asks we do not revel his identity for safety reasons, says a tactical team stormed the barracks the prisoners were barricaded in after the inmates complied with Correction Officers to get on the ground.

"They came in with overwhelming force. They shot the windows out in the front and back of the barracks with riot guns. They came in and shot lots of rubber bullets," he says. "They came in here, Mitch and they beat us, man and some of the guards are using racial expletives calling us the N-word."
Cell phones are prohibited in the prison, but, as we noted recently, Arkansas is a leader in prison seizure of contraband phones. The prisoner told KARK he had obtained his phone from a corrections officer. The Department, in a statement, disputed details of the prisoner's account.

As the Department stated last Thursday, non-deadly force was utilized in response to several inmates barricading themselves in a barracks at the Varner Unit and the cell phone video provided to us this afternoon is consistent with that statement. This force included the discharge of less lethal munitions, specifically rubber bullets and stinger grenades. Prior to the use of force, responding staff gave all inmates in the barracks loud and firm verbal warnings directing the inmates to cease their actions and comply with orders to remove the barricades. Those orders were not adhered to. Following this use of force, several inmates were sent out to area hospitals for evaluation/treatment and later returned to the Unit the same night. There was no inmate with a nose “shot off” as asserted in your earlier email.

The Department has no evidence indicating that staff used racial slurs during Department's use of force.

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