A corrections officer was fired and two officials were demoted last week after what was described as a bloody use of force incident at a Huntsville prison unit.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the incident left a prisoner on life support for three days until he died in a Houston hospital.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has not released exactly what role each of the disciplined employees allegedly played in the incidents leading up to the October death of 63-year-old Frank Digges. However, records show one of the demoted officials — former Sgt. John Schmidt — had a history of excessive use-of-force, once landing on disciplinary probation after he repeatedly punched an inmate in the face.
One worker — Officer Yancey Lett — was fired for excessive force in connection with the Oct. 22 altercation at the Wynne Unit.
Incident reports state that the day before. Digges stuck his hands out of the tray slot and refused to let officers close it until a sergeant showed up outside his cell. Agency officials didn’t offer details about the dispute, but Digges’ family said it was because he hadn’t been given a snack he was supposed to get in light of his hypoglycemia.
The next evening, according to officials, Digges used some type of container to toss hot water from his cell. When he refused to hand over the container, officers sprayed him with chemical agents. But he still refused to comply, officials said — so a five-person extraction team entered his cell.
Digges was serving a life sentence for aggravated robbery out of Harris County.
Keri Blakinger with The Houston Chronicle initially reported on the incident.