By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Within the past month, a Department of Corrections officer at the Prince George's County jail was critically injured during a fight with a detainee, and in a separate incident, an inmate used a homemade shank to stab another inmate during a fight in a lockdown section of the facility.
The injured officer was not immediately provided with medical care, and three days later was admitted to a hospital in critical condition, according to law enforcement sources and court records.
The stabbing occurred in a housing unit in which only one inmate at a time is supposed to be out of his cell. One of the inmates in the fight disabled the lock on his cell door to go after the other inmate, a jail source said.
Vicki D. Duncan, a jail spokeswoman, declined to comment on the stabbing and did not respond to an e-mail and a phone call about the attack on the officer. John Erzen, a spokesman for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), said officials had no comment because the incidents are under investigation.
The attacks are the latest in a series of troubling incidents affecting the Upper Marlboro jail this year.
Authorities are investigating the death of Ronnie L. White, an inmate who was found dead in his cell in June, less than 48 hours after he was charged with killing a county police officer. The state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
Also that month, then-Department of Corrections Director Alfred J. McMurray Sr. was fired two days after officials discovered that four handguns were missing from the jail's armory. The handguns have not been recovered.
In March, three jail officers were suspended amid an investigation into allegations that guards conspired to smuggle cellphones to inmates. One of the suspended guards was suspected of being a member of the Bloods street gang, according to court papers.
The attack on the corrections officer, Cpl. Onur Cinar, occurred about 9:30 p.m. Nov. 1, according to court records.
According to a police charging document, inmate Levar D. Payton, 23, of the District became involved in an argument over property that was being issued to him as he was being reclassified and moved to another part of the jail.
Cinar ordered Payton to move along, and when the inmate refused, the officer tried to escort him from the area, according to the charging document. Payton punched Cinar in the face, and the officer fell to the ground, injuring his head, according to the charging document.
Payton was charged with first- and second-degree assault on Cinar.
Although Cinar reported feeling dizzy, corrections supervisors did not summon paramedics, according to a jail employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the source has not been authorized to speak publicly. According to the jail's protocols, all supervisors in the chain of command, including acting Director Mary Lou McDonough, should have been made aware that an officer had been injured in a fight, the source said.
Instead of receiving medical attention, Cinar lay on a table for about two hours, the jail employee said. Later, a fellow officer drove Cinar to a hospital, the source said.
The county fire department's records show no evidence that a corrections officer was transported from the jail to a hospital Nov. 1 or 2.
A law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Payton is awaiting trial, said Cinar was treated and released from Prince George's Hospital Center.
On Nov. 4, three days after the attack, relatives found Cinar unconscious and unresponsive in his Montgomery County home, the law enforcement source said. Cinar was taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit in critical condition, the source said.
Cinar was released from Suburban Hospital on Nov. 14, according to hospital records.
Efforts to reach Cinar and his relatives were unsuccessful.
On Nov. 18, three weeks after Cinar was attacked, one inmate stabbed another in the H-6 housing unit, a lockdown section. In a lockdown unit, inmates are supposed to be confined to their cells 23 hours a day, and only one inmate at a time is supposed to be in the section's common area.
According to police charging documents, Robert Hilton, 21, of the District stabbed fellow inmate Anthony L. Green, 22, of Hyattsville during a fight in the cellblock.
"During the fight the suspect pulled out a piece of metal and stabbed the victim in the back and in the head," according to the charging document, which accuses Hilton of first- and second-degree assault.
Green and Hilton were arguing. One of the inmates disabled the lock on his cell and went after the other. It was not clear who left his cell and who was in the common area when the fight started.
Green was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center, where he was treated and released, according to the charging document.