By: Jason Walker, Contributing Writer
In Texas Prisons, guards are notorious for beating, killing, and harassing prisoners. They also set up prisoners to be attacked by other prisoners while handcuffed from behind, and they’re even known to assist prisoners in committing suicide, even when the prisoner has no intentions of doing such thing.
These cruel practices are so common in solitary confinement, and the grievance system is so inadequate, that many prisoners don’t bother to file complaints against staff. But when prison guards deny a prisoner his meals (which is common) or steal their personal property (also common) these prisoners resort to violence to protect their rights.
Since the guards’ word reigns supreme, they are able to get away with whatever they wish. The most common trick they pull is to claim that a restrained prisoner is being combative, which gives guards the authority to slam, twist, punch, and choke the helpless prisoner under the guise that he’s trying to fight back.
When prison guards enter a prisoner’s cell to restrain, control or remove a prisoner, they’re required to film the procedure. So when a beating takes place, observing guards intentionally block the view of the cameraman by bumping into him as if he is in the way and they are trying to assist their co-workers.
The other trick is to accuse a prisoner of trying to hang, cut or hurt himself. Most of the time the victim is asleep, reading, or minding their own business when they are unsuspectingly approached and told to “put the razor down” or to “remove that sheet from around your neck” etc. Shortly after that, you can hear the loud burst of pepper spray entering the feeding port of their cell door, which brings me to my case in point and the heart of this expose.
It’s prison protocol for prison guards to use pepper spray in prisons against prisoners who pose a threat to themselves or to another individual. Whatever happens after-the-fact can be easily justified by the prison guard claiming the victim was trying to cut himself. I saw it done to Hoover Pugh on April 9, 2015 by Skyler Tidwell; I saw it happen to a prisoner only known to myself and others as “Baycity” on August 26, 2015 by Sergeant Dustin Anderson.
One would assume that prison guards use pepper spray in prisons when a prisoner is being disruptive to the rest of the unit or to themselves, but that’s not always the case. I have seen guards who actually gas prisoners for fun.
And I saw it again more recently.
During the month of September 2015 in the early morning, I was awakened by a bunch of loud rants of, “Turn down for what,” which drew me to my segregation cell door to see what the confrontation was about.
As I looked down at the first tier, I could hear officer [Name Withheld] C.O. IV yelling “Turn down for what.” I could also hear the sound of an entire can of pepper spray being unleashed on a prisoner who was begging him to stop.
Several minutes later, [Name Withheld] and his co-worker came into my view. Cruz played with the nearly empty can of spray, letting the remnants trickle to the floor while he spelled letters with the streaming liquid and smiling.
He then called his supervisor to say a prisoner in H-pod 114 cell was caught in the act of trying to cut his arm with a razor blade, so he had to administer gas in order to regain control of the situation.
After that, the victim (a Hispanic male) was shackled in leg and arm restraints, removed from his cell, and sent to the suicide prevention unit. As he was escorted out by guards, he looked bewildered, not to mention that his face and chest were bright red from being gassed at close range.
Later on that day, in response to questions about why the prisoner cut his arm,[Name Withheld] smiled and stated, “He didn’t cut his arm.” Confused, I asked Officer Cruz why he had gassed him.[Name Withheld]’s smile got even bigger and he childishly said “For fun,” as he reenacted the ordeal in detail, marveling about how the assaulted prisoner was begging him to stop.
This is the same [Name Withheld] that intentionally ignored the hollers of others alerting him that a prisoner had cut his face and was bleeding badly on October 20, 2014. In this instance, he replied, “I don’t give a fuck, fuck him.” He waited over ten minutes before he reported the incident to medical.
Not only does this indifferent guard have the tendency to spray gas on those that aren’t suicidal out of sheer boredom, but he deliberately ignores those that have made an attempt to harm themselves, because he couldn’t care less.
He’s one of the same prison guards that the state trusts to oversee your loved ones who could possibly fall victim to those just like him. Officer [Name Withheld] and his cronies need to be exposed or their flagrantly foul acts will continue. We prisoners aren’t safe around them and taxpayers along with society as a whole need to know they are lurking in the gloom of solitary confinement.
Jason Walker is serving 18 years in Texas for Aggravated Burglary.
If you’d like to contact Jason directly, please write to:
Jason Walker #1532092
9601 Spur 591
Amarillo TX 79107