ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Newly released video shows an MDC corrections officer fighting off a group of inmates after checking on what he thought was a fight inside of a jail cell.
The incident happened around Thanksgiving, leaving the corrections officer with just minor injuries. Six inmates have since been charged for their involvement in the fight.
“He did what he had to do to stay alive,” said Joseph Trujeque, president of the Local 2499 Union representing Bernalillo County corrections officers.
“I have no doubt, if they got ahold of him, they would have probably killed him,” Trujeque said.
The fight happened on November 26 inside a pod full of inmates which corrections officer Edward Downing was working his normal shift.
“In this case, they were unhappy because he was new, and he was doing his job to the letter, and they were unhappy,” said Trujeque, recalling the incident.
Video shows Downing working a control panel inside the pod when two inmates asked Downing to open a cell door. According to a report, the inmates told Downing they wanted to give another inmate “a soup.”
As the two inmates entered the cell, Downing became suspicious of a fight potentially taking place inside the cell.
“When he arrived at the cell, another inmate attacked him,” Trujeque said.
Video shows inmate Jose Estrada throwing several punches at Downing’s face, then attempting to take the correction officer’s radio.
“Several inmates came from behind to also attack him,” Trujeque said.
The corrections officer then had to run the gauntlet through a group of four inmates, then a fifth inmate in order to safely get down to the ground floor of the pod. Officer Downing escaped with minor injuries, including some bruising to his face.
Trujeque hopes the guys responsible are held accountable.
“We have to hold these people to task and when they know they’re not going to be held accountable, it emboldens them to act in those ways,” said Trujeque.
The union believes the inmates likely staged the fight to lure the officer up to the second-floor cell. All of the inmates charged are still at MDC.
MDC released the following statement about the fight:
“Metropolitan Detention Center officials are reviewing this incident. We are thankful our corrections officer was not seriously injured. We appreciate the thorough investigation the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office conducted into the incident and their efforts to bring charges against the alleged offenders.”Ralph Fernandez, MDC Chief of Corrections