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3 Officers Assaulted In Disturbance At State Prison In Hickman County

Posted at 5:40 PM, Apr 09, 2017

Three officers were injured over the weekend during a disturbance at Turney Center Industrial Complex in Hickman County. 

Authorities with the Tennessee Department of Correction said the incident involved 16 inmates in one housing unit. It began around 4 p.m. Sunday, and three corrections officers were assaulted.

Two of the officers were immediately removed from the scene. The third was held hostage for a period of time.

The three victims were flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where two of the victims were listed in critical condition and one was stable. As of Monday morning, they remained hospitalized. 

The housing unit involved was placed on lockdown. Authorities confirmed a few hours after the disturbance began that the housing unit was under control.

A road near the complex was blocked while emergency crews worked at the scene.

Officials said appropriate security procedures were taken and an emergency operations team responded to the scene.

The incident lasted approximately three hours, officially ending around 7 p.m.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with these officers," said Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Tony Parker. "Any threat to the security of our institution or threat to our staff will be investigated and charged appropriately.” 

As stated by the commissioner, the inmates will be charged appropriately upon investigation, according to officials. They were also immediately moved to a maximum security facility.

Mary Powers, a nearby resident, said she's lived near the Turney Center Industrial Complex for more than 40 years, but when she saw all of the police activity, she knew something was wrong.

"Well, you know something's going on, and you're always worried that somebody's got hurt. It's really been all afternoon that this has been going on," Powers said.

Reports stated the complex remained on lockdown while the Office of Investigation and Compliance investigates the incident.

The complex is a state prison in Only operated by the Tennessee Department of Correction. It has currently been housing around 1,500 inmates with the majority of the beds being medium security.

On Monday, Democratic lawmakers call on state lawmakers to reinstate a prison oversight committee, citing a series of reported ongoing issues at Turney Center and other state facilities.

"We have a problem, we know there's a problem and no action has been taken," Representative Bo Mitchell said.

At a press briefing on Monday Democrats called the situation "unacceptable," showing reporters dozens of "tips" they've received from correction facility employees.

"It is unacceptable for a corrections officer to be held hostage in our of our facility. There is no quesiton that legislative oversight in the past was extremely effect ... officers have been concerned for many months," Representative Jeff Yarbro said.