Inmates accuse jail staff of abuse

PNT staff

Three Roosevelt County Detention Center inmates said they were indiscriminately sprayed with a pepper ball gun by a detention center officer last week, according to a tort claim notice filed at the Roosevelt County Clerk’s office.

Portales attorney Eric Dixon is representing the three inmates, Roy Montano, Eric Pena and Byron Williams who were residing in POD 11 of the jail when the incident took place, according to the claim.

Jail Administrator David Casanova said Thursday afternoon that he had not received the notice and County Manager Charlene Webb was out of the office Thursday and declined to comment about the tort notice.

The tort claim gives county officials notice that the three men have a claim for personal injury, bodily injury resulting from assault, battery, and violation of their rights, privileges and immunities secured by the constitution and laws of the U.S. and the state.

According to the tort claim, the document alleges:

z One of the jail’s officers said “this is per Casanova” before spraying the POD with pepper gun fire in an “indiscriminate street gang style and manner.”

z The pepper was in the air for several hours, causing inmates respiratory problems and headaches.

z Pena was hit on the right hand with a pepper ball, causing injury. He asked that a picture be taken but was refused.

z Williams was on the bottom bunk, was hit on his right side causing severe cuts and bruising. Williams was also hit in the head, causing bleeding and pictures were taken.

z Dixon said the shooting was obviously in retaliation for last week’s escape, of which his clients had no knowledge or involvement.

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