The Truth of the Jail Riot Will Be Learned Soon Enough [OPINION]
Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson suffered a "substantial bruise" on his arm in a struggle that erupted on Friday night with more than two dozen violent ICE detainees at the Bristol County House of Correction. Hodgson tells me that while members of the Massachusetts Legislature and the Congressional delegation were quick to demand an investigation into the incident, no one has even bothered to inquire about his well being.
The riot that resulted in some $25,000 in damage to Unit B ensued when Hodgson instructed 10 of the 26 inmates involved to step forward to be transferred to the medical unit to be tested for COVID-19. The inmates had reportedly complained of COVID-like symptoms earlier in the day. According to published reports, some in the delegation say the riot was violent retaliation by correction officers when the detainees refused to step forward.
The Massachusetts Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee will launch an investigation that it says will "focus on both the incident itself and why a senator was not allowed to visit the House of Corrections in the aftermath." Hodgson tells me that Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz was, in fact, turned away from the jail the following day because she showed up unannounced and without an appointment demanding to be let in.
It's important to remember when looking for blame for Friday's events that the 26 inmates involved were Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees. All are illegal aliens and most were being held for extremely violent offenses. In other words, they were not a bunch of Boy Scouts. It is also important to note that the sheriff runs the jail and it is he who determines when prisoners are to be moved to the medical unit, and not a committee of inmates.
Politicians and the immigration activist lawyers are demanding the release of videotapes that captured events at the jail as they unfolded on Friday night. Those tapes will be reviewed by those charged with conducting the investigation and the public will get the truth about what happened soon enough.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.