County Opens Critical Incident Review
(Deming) – Luna County officials opened a critical incident review of a recent detention center uprising to the public Wednesday.
Detention Director Matthew Elwell said it was rare for detention officials to open a review to the public, but said he wanted to show openness and transparency following one inmate’s complaint of the incident to the local newspaper.
Attending the review Wednesday morning in the Luna County commission chambers were representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU-New Mexico, the media, and jail and county officials.
The review covered the May 3rd incident when inmates caused over $3,000 worth of damage to a cell and the facility’s west yard.
The video surveillance showed that inmates were compliant while leaving their cells, however they became unruly and disorderly when arriving at the west yard.
The video showed the inmates, who had their hands cuffed behind them, maneuvering to bring their cuffed hands in front of them, kicking doors, and refusing to comply with orders to stop the aggression.
The video also showed pepper spray and another chemical spray being deployed into the yard, which Elwell said was done for staff and inmate safety.
And the video confirmed that it took less than a minute before inmates began being removed from the yard to be decontaminated.
Elwell said the review revealed some camera and recording device weaknesses which are being corrected, but otherwise said his staff followed standard operating procedures throughout the incident.
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