A Latin American civil rights organization, commonly referred to as LULAC, has accused guards in a Texas federal detention facility, Flightline, of beating a group of illegal immigrant inmates, leaving one of them dead, after the sister of one of the inmates, Jose David Garache-Munoz, reported her claims to LULAC.
According to a press release following a press conference on September 6, “one inmate has died while in custody in ‘the Hole’ as a result of the terrible beat down”; however, LULAC’s civil rights chair, Agustin Pinedo, subsequently told The Daily Caller News Foundation that they hadn’t managed to substantiate the death. It is reportedly multiple prisoners who believe the aforementioned inmate is dead since “he is missing.”
In the meantime, LULAC President Domingo Garcia also enumerated other possibilities, namely that he could have been transferred to another detention facility and is alive, according to the edition; but the press release reportedly details only the killing scenario.
LULAC alleged the inmate was “savagely beaten into unconsciousness,” as prison officers reportedly entered his cell, handcuffed and pepper sprayed him, and dragged him out to a spot not visible to security cameras in the building. The man reportedly entered a state of coma afterward, which he remained in for five days. Two of his pals reportedly tried to intervene to assist, but were also severely beaten and further denied medical assistance, causing one of them to die due to injuries on August 31, LULAC claimed.
The GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private prison contractors and manager of the Flightline detention facility, meanwhile, denied the accusations, saying the wardens had reacted accordingly to the inmates’ excessive aggression, which made them resort to pepper spraying, according to the GEO statement. It went on to say that all of them were medically treated, one of them on the spot, and the other one in a hospital, where he stayed just till the evening of the same day.
Bobby Thompson, who LULAC alleged was the main perpetrator of the attack, specified that Garache-Munoz “positioned himself in an assaultive stance toward staff” and turned a deaf ear to multiple orders to obey the guards, leading staffers to “gain compliance” with the help of the handy pepper spray, Thompson said in a letter to LULAC. Thompson went on to say that while awaiting investigation, Garache-Munoz was kept in the special Restricted Housing Unit, where potentially dangerous inmates serve their term.
Garache-Munoz originally came from Honduras as an immigrant and was sentenced to a one year prison term for illegally entering US territory, according to LULAC. Meanwhile, neither LULAC nor Garache-Munoz personally are reported to have taken or threatened to take legal action against Flightline or any other parties involved.
Battling illegal migration runs high on US President Donald Trump’s political agenda. Earlier this year, he called for more security personnel to be deployed by the National Guard in Arizona, New Mexico and California to more effectively guard the border. This month, the Trump administration reportedly diverted some $10 million from several agencies, including the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to fund the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). This was in addition to the $200 million that the White House redirected from the Department of Homeland Security to ICE over the summer. Of the $200 million, $93 million were allocated for detention centers.