A missed meal is said to have led to the injury of one officer in a disturbance involving 17 inmates at the Northern Neck Regional Jail on Tuesday.
Ted Hull, superintendent of the jail, located in Warsaw, said the incident began around 4:30 p.m. and order was restored by 7:45 p.m.
“In the effort to contain the disturbance and re-establish control of the unit, the appropriate level of force was used to gain control and compliance consistent with the level of resistance of the inmates,” Hull said in a prepared statement Friday.
“In the attempt to gain compliance, an officer was struck by an inmate’s fist and received an injury under the right eye. Another officer was struck by a thrown meal tray,” according to Hull.
Hull said the inmates involved were examined and evaluated by medical staff and no physical injury was noted. Because a chemical restraint was used, all the inmates were decontaminated, evaluated and provided treatment as required.
The incident started when one inmate, who said he was in the shower when meals were served in the unit, was refused, having failed to respond to “last call,” Hull said.
“That inmate became agitated and disruptive. Subsequently, the remaining 16 inmates of the unit became agitated as well, refused to return their meal trays nor would they cooperate with the officer nor comply with any direction,” Hull’s release said.
Around 5:30 p.m., in preparation for evening count, the inmates in the unit refused to return to their cells for the count procedures.
“Officers observed the inmates preparing to resist officer entry into the unit by throwing water on the floor, attempting to cover observation windows, tie sheets and blankets to access doors to prevent entry, fabricating face masks from sheets, positioning mattresses as shields and barricades, positioning trays to be used as weapons and covered surveillance cameras,” Hull said.
Attempts were made to de-escalate and gain compliance — including a cooling-off period — to no avail, he said.
Hull said that at about 7:30 p.m., jail staff entered the unit from two separate entry points. The majority of the inmates, 13, complied with orders, were restrained without force and were returned to their cells.
“The remaining four inmates actively resisted the officer attempts to restrain them, physically resisting officers by punching, kicking and using meal trays as weapons. Appropriate physical and chemical force was used to gain control of the resisting inmates,” Hull said.
No criminal charges have yet been placed, he said.