HICKMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — A correctional officer was severely beaten over the weekend at Turney Center Industrial Complex in Hickman County.
WSMV obtained surveillance video of the attack.
A source told the WSMV I-Team it’s important for people to see the dangers faced by correctional officers as the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction continues to tell lawmakers that the state’s prisons are safer than in years past.
The video shows an inmate trying to talk to a correctional officer, who then opens the door to the pod. The attack begins moments later.
The correctional officer was repeatedly punched, dragged and beaten to the ground. Inmates gathered to watch nearly 30 seconds before another correctional officer came to help.
The incident report obtained by the I-Team shows the inmate struck, kicked and dragged the officer. The officer was taken to Horizon Medical Center in Dickson, then by ambulance to Skyline Medical Center.
“Here we have a guy beaten half to death,” said Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville.
The I-Team showed the video to Stewart, a frequent critic of TDOC.
“The astonishing thing is the records we’ve received is that this is the second brutal attack at this facility,” Stewart said.
The second attack is spelled out in an incident report from Turney dated Aug. 28. An inmate punched an officer in the face, knocked him to the floor, and began to stomp and kick him.
A petition addressed to Gov. Bill Haslam has been launched on change.org calling for an independent investigation of the prisons. More than 600 people have signed it so far.
The I-Team obtained an invoice for the current schedule audit that now shows only three prisons will be inspected. Originally, it was scheduled to be five.
“Is this even one of the facilities that the ACA is going to come in and inspect?” Stewart asked. “I’ve been a big critic of this inspection because I think it’s going to be business as usual.”
In a statement to the I-Team, a TDOC spokeswoman said she would not verify a video they did not release:
“Other staff immediately intervened and took appropriate corrective action. The officer received medical attention and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. An investigation into the incident is ongoing and no further details are available at this time.”
The incident report only said the officer suffered serious bodily injury. The inmate was charged with assault.