Organization claims private correction center officers beat three undocumented inmates

Haley Harrison

CBS7

Sep 7, 2018

Big Spring -- Agustin Pinedo, the civil rights chair for League of United Latin American Citizens, traveled all the way from Houston for a news conference outside of Flightline Big Spring Correction Center on Thursday.

It was held to bring attention to Honduran immigrant Jose Munoz and others they claim are being mistreated inside the correction center.

“Jose’s family is very alarmed about Jose’s health," Pinedo said. "They think he may not make it at all.”

LULAC is claiming that correction officers, led by Warden Bobby Thompson, brutally and senselessly beat Munoz and two other undocumented immigrants and then denied them medical attention.

Pinedo says this event led to the death of one of the men, Ervin Ortiz, last Friday.

“LULAC is asking that Warden Bobby Thompson and other staff that is responsible for the beating of the inmates be relieved of duty, while a complete investigation of this prison is conducted," Pinedo said. "Furthermore, we ask that those involved in the assaultive behavior be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We further recommend that this prison be permanently closed.”

The privately owned correctional facility is operated by The GEO Group.

When CBS7 reached out Thursday morning, we received this statement from the organization:

“On August 11, 2018, staff at the Big Spring Flightline Correctional Center responded to a potential disturbance within a housing unit. Staff identified three inmates as the primary instigators of the unit’s disruptive behavior and they all became combative with staff. Per standard protocol, staff used pepper spray to gain the compliance of the first two inmates and they were both immediately taken to medical services for an assessment. One was treated on-site and received no injuries. Upon showing signs of distress, the other inmate was transported to the local hospital where he was treated for eye irritation and discharged the same evening. The third inmate was treated at the local hospital for a pre-existing condition. No other injuries were sustained as a result of this incident and the procedures and processes followed were in accordance with all applicable policies and procedures.”

The sister of Munoz has hired an attorney.

Yolanda Castillo, who also attended the news conference today, claimed her 32-year-old husband was once a healthy oil field worker.

She said he lost 40 pounds and now has numerous health problems after 10 months at Flightline.

In letters he tells Castillo that he has also been turned down when asking for medical attention.

“If I am hurting, I know he is hurting more," Castillo said. "I really wish that no one has to go through all of this.”

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