Suit: Inmate injured in SC prison riot 'forced to bleed and suffer' for hours

An inmate, who said he was stabbed eight times during the deadly riot, said the state DOC was negligent by not providing enough COs to protect prisoners


By Emily Bohatch
The State (Columbia, S.C.)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — An inmate, who said he was stabbed eight times during the deadly April 15 riot at Lee Correctional Institution, filed a lawsuit claiming he was "forced to bleed and suffer for several hours," before correctional officers intervened.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in a Lee County court, claims the S.C. Department of Corrections was negligent by not providing enough guards to protect prisoners and failing to meet its own standards.

This April 16, 2018 file photo shows the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)
This April 16, 2018 file photo shows the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

Reakwon Watson, 21, was incarcerated at Lee Correctional in November 2015 after being found guilty of attempted armed robbery and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, according to Department of Corrections records.

In his lawsuit, he said he was in the F-3 Unit at Lee when he was stabbed multiple times in the head, arms, hands and back by 10 to 15 prisoners.

At the time, the cell doors and the door to each wing of the unit were unlocked, which is against Department of Correction's guidelines, Watson claimed in the lawsuit.

Watson also claimed Lee officials knew about competing gangs in the prison and knew that "a large percentage of the inmate population carried and/or had access to weapons." Understaffing and failure to check cells made conditions even more dangerous, according to the lawsuit.

During the nearly eight-hour-long incident, Watson said he called out to prison staff for help, but no one came to his aid or the aid of other dead or wounded prisoners. Seven inmates died during the riot, and several others were injured.

©2018 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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