Varner Unit, Varner, Arkansas
September 26, 2017

A group of prisoners attack guards, stab a lieutenant and beat a major. Prison guards react violently and prisoners document the abuses using contraband prisoner cell phones.

One prisoner, who spoke under conditions of anonymity to Fox 16, reported:

“They came in with overwhelming force. They shot the windows out in the front and back of the barracks with riot guns. They came in and shot lots of rubber bullets,” he says. “They came in here, Mitch and they beat us, man and some of the guards are using racial expletives calling us the N-word.”

Arkansas Department of Correction Spokesperson Solomon Graves released the following statement on the incident:

“As the Department stated last Thursday, non-deadly force was utilized in response to several inmates barricading themselves in a barracks at the Varner Unit and the cell phone video provided to us this afternoon is consistent with that statement. This force included the discharge of less lethal munitions, specifically rubber bullets and stinger grenades. Prior to the use of force, responding staff gave all inmates in the barracks loud and firm verbal warnings directing the inmates to cease their actions and comply with orders to remove the barricades. Those orders were not adhered to. Following this use of force, several inmates were sent out to area hospitals for evaluation/treatment and later returned to the Unit the same night. There was no inmate with a nose “shot off” as asserted in your earlier email.

The Department has no evidence indicating that staff used racial slurs during Department’s use of force.”

 

Citations:

EXCLUSIVE: Cell Phone Video Shows Moments after Prison Officers are Attacked“, Fox16.com, October 4, 2017.

Background:

Inmate Speaks About Conditions at Cummins Unit“, KARK.com, September 15, 2017.