A WLBT Report
RAYMOND – One inmate is being blamed for inciting a riot that has left one unit destroyed at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond. The uprising began overnight and ended Monday afternoon.
Twenty-five-year-old Kendall Johnson was being held for possession of marijuana and contempt of court. His family says they don't believe he started the uprising and claim he was beaten by deputies.
“If you can envision what Katrina looked like, then that is what Pod C looks like”, said Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis.
Sheriff Tyrone Lewis says Pod C where the uprising was contained is completely destroyed. He says it began overnight when Johnson escaped from guards during a security check and used a fire hose to flood the unit and then began releasing other inmates.
“Well nobody is making particular demands that's what makes us think this guy is a novice. He doesn't know what he wants. They haven't said that they wanted anything, they are just being what I call school knuckle-heads,” Lewis said.
Law enforcement officers from local, county and state departments from around the metro area were called in to assist with the riot. Sheriff Lewis says they were able to get the inmates under control just after 2 Monday afternoon. Officers surrounded the jail, creating a wall around the unit.
“We are in the process of turning off the water, we have also cut off the air to that particular unit,” said Lewis.
Skycopter 3 video showed inmates being searched and moved to other units. Some ran. One prisoner was brought out in a wheelchair.
Pod C holds 183 inmates.
Some of the doors had to be cut open to free the inmates after the control boards were destroyed. They have now been transferred to jails in Madison and Rankin County, prison officials said.
“We wanted to make sure before we went in that we had a plan in place, a plan that will keep everyone safe,” said Lewis.
Hinds County supervisors met to discuss the riot, relocating the inmates, and repairs to Pod C. They toured the unit that was destroyed along with several members of the media Monday evening.
Inside were broken sinks, a shattered $400,000 control panel and weapons, like shanks, were found that the inmates formed using metal objects pulled from the ceiling and doors.
“The brighter side is we get an opportunity to rebuild. To rebuild it correctly to make sure that when its done right, its done to the highest standards of security,” said Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham.
Johnson's family said they don't believe he is responsible for the riot.
“He been locked up in this jail so many times he ain't never did nothing like this. That's why I don't understand,” said Johnson's mother, Delores Walker.
“He was beating on the solitary door but I guess he was making too much noise so they came and handcuffed him and he said they jumped on him. He says he has bruises on him,” Keyonna Johnson, the inmate's sister said.
“He was the aggressor with the guards. During a security check he breached that security check,” said Sheriff Lewis.
For years, there have been debates and concerns about the problems at the Hinds County Detention Center.
Problems with the design, broken cell doors and insufficient manpower are all issues that have been discussed.
County officials said, however, they're just glad this riot was brought under control without serious injuries.
Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson issued a statement saying he has been in contact with Hinds County officials and steps are being taken to handle city inmates housed at the Raymond facility.