Three in hospital after altercation at ICE facility

May 1, 2020

Four ambulances were called to the Bristol County House of Correction on the evening of May 1 following an incident resulting in three Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainees being taken to hospital.

All three are expected to be fine, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

A violent disturbance broke out at the Faunce Corner Road jail’s ICE facility that resulted in more than $25,000 worth of damage to the facility, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The release stated that the disturbance started after 10 detainees in the B Wing of the detention center reported having multiple symptoms of Covid-19. 

The release stated that no Bristol County personnel were injured in the incident, but three ICE detainees were transported to the hospital: one for symptoms of a panic attack, one for a pre-existing medical condition and another for a medical incident after being removed from the ICE wing.

According to the press release, the detainees refused to report to the medical unit for testing. 

Two immigrations attorneys reported that according to their clients, the corrections officers caused at least some of the damage by breaking windows in the facility.

According to attorney Ben Haldeman, who was outside the detention center with another attorney during the incident, officers allegedly used pepper spray on the detainees.

“We’re extremely concerned with what’s going on in there,” he said at the time.

Haldeman said that his colleague received a call a little after 6 p.m. from a client inside the facility, who said that the detainees were ‘very scared.’ 

The sheriff’s office press release noted that the incident started when about 10 detainees in the B Wing of the detention center reported having multiple symptoms of Covid-19. 

“The detainees refused to get tested for Covid-19, then when notified they were required to be tested because of reporting symptoms, rushed violently at Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and corrections officers,” the statement read. 

The sheriff’s office stated in the release that the detainees barricaded themselves inside the facility, ripped washing machines and pipes off the wall, broke windows and trashed the entire unit.

Corrections officers, special response team members and the K9 unit entered the facility, regained control, and restrained the detainees, according to the statement.

"This all started because a group of 10 detainees each reported having at least two symptoms of Covid-19," Hodgson said. "The detainees refused to go to the medical unit for testing...The detainees refused to comply, became combatant and ultimately put the lives of themselves and many Bristol County officers at risk with their reckless actions.”

According to the sheriff’s office, detainees have been moved to single cells in the special housing unit pending disciplinary action and Covid-19 testing as well as criminal charges.

Sheriff Hodgson will hold a press conference on the matter at 11 a.m. tomorrow.