“I LOST BALANCE AND FELL”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 26, 2017) — An inmate at Tennessee’s Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) reported by means of a formal grievance that he was punched in his right rib cage by a correction officer early last month.
The inmate, Richard A. Mayers, requires a wheelchair and has reported both physical and verbal retaliation for having made previous allegations of mistreatment public. Relatives of inmates throughout Tennessee’s prison system fear to speak out or identify themselves for the same reason.
When initially moved to MCCX from West Tennessee State Penitentiary (WTSP) several months ago, Mayers reported an improvement in conditions and a willingness on the part of some staff to assist him with conducting research necessary for his case. However, the positive changes he experienced quickly devolved to alleged verbal and physical abuse, including ten days in “the Hole,” a term used to describe a punishment area with solitary confinement.
Mayers believes he was singled out for punitive action without just cause and has written to Sen. Robert Corker to ask for help in a letter which will be published in a subsequent article.
Since Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was imprisoned in August 2014, The Post & Email has received hundreds of letters from inmates at various Tennessee prisons describing horrendous conditions including gang activity, lack of medical care, correction officer brutality, and rubber-stamp parole hearings after which they are almost invariably told that they need to “do one more year” even if they have served the maximum sentence allowed by law for their alleged crimes.
Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Communications Director Neysa Taylor has told this publication that all of the reports we have received are “inaccurate” despite their haunting corroboration of one another. She has declined to comment on reports sent to her by this writer over the last two months from inmates’ relatives and inmates themselves alleging a myriad of TDOC administrative policy violations.
Mayers’s recent report begins with [sic] “on the morning of 1-2-17- at approximately 0700 hours C/O Perry decided that he would do a marshall arts kick and slam my door shut at wich time I laid back down and decided I would simply forgo breakfast instead of dealing with this individuals adolescent behavior.”
The story continues:
Apparantly this was not good enough for C/O Perry so he went to get four of his partner C/Os to come roust me out of bed for absolute no reason, it was early, my legs were not working good yet due to my extreme injurys, and so when C/O Perry told me to stand against the wall I had trouble getting out of my wheelchair, him and C/O Golding decided I was going to the hole right then and decided to man handle me out of the chair at wich time I lost balance and fell. If this man handleing wasn’t enough my arms where jerked behind my back the whole while me telling him that I had 13 screws and a large plate in my left arm and that I should be cuffed in the front. (This wasn’t good enough.) So off we rolled to intake (if he would have his way), but Lt. Hollywood instructed him to take me straight to 25 unit, the whole way I was being cursed and told that I was a hepititus riden little XXXXX, I told him that was interesting and laughed, and told him that I didn’t even have hep C anymore. So he continued to scream shut up-shut up (I just laughed) to myself and allowed myself to be rolled on to segregation without further incident. However I did tell him that I promise I would do everything in my power to bring an FBI investigation of this godforsaken place and I meant what I said. (no matter if it takes years it has to be done) and so when he got me to 25 building and rolled me in my cell with 4 or 5 other C/Os he punched me in my right ribcage and stated there right about that…
Mayers then directed himself to Assistant Warden Hutchinson, stating that he planned to take legal action “due to the seriousness of the criminal activity of an individual known as C/O Perry in 23-A.”
He then alleged that Golding “threatn to have anyone whom puts in paperwork such as this, that he would have the other inmate gang members to (check them in)”.
Mayers told Hutchinson that his complaint “is simply not an accusation” and that he is willing to undergo a polygraph test in front of federal investigators.
In addition to the alleged physical assault, Mayers stated that Golding is responsible for “stealing my personal medical records” as well as “my watch, my headphones, ect.”