Lawmakers Accuse DOC Of Covering Up Officer Assaults

Posted at 10:26 PM, Aug 19, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lawmakers have been accusing the Tennessee Department of Correction of downplaying or even trying to cover up a serious attack at a Tennessee prison early Tuesday morning.

The DOC said those crying foul have been way out of line.

At a press conference Wednesday, State Representative Mike Stewart pointed to an incident report which said what happened at Morgan County Correctional was just an "accident" and that there was no violence.

Stewart then showed pictures of Sergeant David Garrett who has been a guard at Morgan County Correctional Center in East Tennessee.

Stewart said he has a broken eye socket from reportedly being kicked in the face by an inmate and plenty of other injuries.

According to Stewart there was another officer who was treated and she too has major injuries, but the DOC said she had a heart attack while she was trying to respond to the fight and was not actually hurt by an inmate.

Stewart said he's received reports for months that the DOC has been downplaying assaults against its officers inside prisons across the state.

"We have two pieces of evidence - the incident report itself where it says 'level of violence: no violence' and again I'd ask this guard whether he thought this was an incident of no violence," Stewart said.

The Tennessee State Employees Association said it too has heard that officer assaults have not been documented fully.

"The officers feel like they are no longer in control of any of the outcome as far as disciplinary action," said TSEA President Bryan Merritt. "They feel like that is not a supportive position in what they're having to do as the front line workers with the inmates."

The DOC said that the incident report the lawmakers showed wasn't finished yet, that it's a place holder and will be filled out once they are done.