Oklahoma County jail inmates charge at officer, damage jail pod

OK County jail riot 23 September 2018

Oklahoma County Jail inmates reportedly charged an officer and damaged a jail pod Sunday night.

Officials say several inmates on the 12th floor of the county jail were able to open their cells at around 7:30 p.m.

An officer was doing his rounds at the jail when he noticed the free inmates. Officials say the officer pulled a non-lethal pepper ball gun when he entered the pod. Several inmates charged the officer. The officer fired into the pod and was able to leave and lock down the pod.

Officials say the inmates began to tear down ceiling tiles and security cameras. They also damaged the sprinkler system, causing the pod to flood.

The Sheriff’s department called in the tactical team, who were able to escort all the inmates out to a different area of the jail.

Security camera footage of the incident has been sent to the District Attorney for consideration of further charges on the inmates.

"It could have been much worse," Mark Opgrande, a spokesperson for the jail, told Fox 25.

He said Sunday night's chaos was just one example of why the jail needs major improvements. One of them in particular, are the locks on the cell doors, which he says could cost millions in itself.

"There's 1,200 of them, so it's not an easy fix," he said, "It would take a lot of money to fix that, So our staff has to be very vigilant to understand that a lot of times when you go into one of these cell blocks, one of these pods, you could have individuals that are out — that have broken out of their, rigged out of their cell."

Locks on the doors seem to be just the beginning. Many of the problems stem from when the jail was built. From mold problems, to inmates knocking bricks out of the walls, plumbing issues and ceiling tiles similar to an office building.

"Why we have drop down ceilings, or why you would put one in a maximum security facility, nobody knows," He said.

Opgrande said some county elected officials have suggested just getting a new jail all together, but there's no dedicated funding source for the jail.

The jail get's a budget from the county, but that's it. They say they've been working with elected officials for a fix.

"The county doesn't have the money themselves, and that's the issue that we are all trying to come across," Opgrande said.

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