On or about Novemeber 2008. I was working at La Palma Center in Eloy. At approximatley 1700 hours “during chow”. I was the only SORT officer on shift and asssisting officers with chow due to staff shortage! I was taking food carts to officers in dorms so they could eat. Shortly after passing food trays in Navajo-Charlie pod. I was walking back to the kitchen when i heard “MAN DOWN! Navajo-Charlie POD!” I quickly realized that was the pod i had just left. I dropped every thing i had and ran towards that pod. Upon entering the main corrador i quickly noticed a scuffle at the top tier, left side of pod. I called out “Code Blue” over the radio meaning inmate on inmate fight. As i awaited for assistance from other officers. I quickly realized inmates were ontop of two officers! I quickly called out “CODE RED!” Inmate on officer fight. I was attempting to get into the pod but the doors would not open! I knew i had to wait for more officers befor I could go in but in an instant i heard the door buzzzz open and the decision was made for me. I entered and closed the door behind me. Inmates began coming at me as I made my way up the stairs. I was laying out controled bursts of OC from my mark 9. I managed to get closer to the officers as other inmates came at me. I got into a hand to hand with one inmate that approached me swinging. I managed to place him on the floor and detain him. I would spray OC in the direction of the two fallen officers in an attempt to get inmates off of them. I could see inmates around me and i would deploy OC to keep them at bay. I would yell out to my partners “Hold on, I am coming! Hang on brotha!. Inmates continued to make a second attempt but I then heard a loud bang and realized officers coming into the pod. I was then sprayed with OC extensively to get inmates off of me. I managed to place mechanical restraints on the inmate i was engaged with. I was then escorted by an officer out of the POD. I could not see, I was blinded by the extensive spray and was in pain from my eyes and a huge lump on the back of my head. As i was removed from the area I thought i was bleeded from the back of my head and could feel something wet behind my neck, it was alot of OC. I was taken to decontaminate but could not see clearly. I had extreem pain on my neck, head area and could not open my eyes due to the OC exposure. I was air lifted to Pheonix hospital and decontamited there. I remained in the hospital and spent Christmas and New years there due to not being able to see clearly “blurry vision.” During the stay in the hospital officials came to see me advising that i had slipped and hit my head. I clearly told them i did not think so because i would have remembered that. They were extreemly adament about me saying “I had slipped and hit my head!” i simply refused to say what they were telling me to say and explained what happened. after that i had no one come back to speak to me other than the fellow officers! I realized that this company cares not about the officers but only about the mighty dollar! I made the decision that this place is dangerrous not because of the inmates but they the conditions they place in. Short staffed, no assistance, late on pay, long shifts and ask to return. All officers “NEW” on the floor while LT, SGT and Capt in the office!!! I advised that i would be leaving and was told “BYE!” and advised they would mail me my check. Till this day i have seen no check, no pay from holidays and annual leave earned. I get no response and compensation. Till this day i have issues with my vision and have to be going constantly to the eye doctor as my vision is deteriating. It could by from normal surcumstances but have mark 9’s emptied on your face does not help. All in all the only personnel that ever appreciated what i did were the two officers i saved. Emotional reunion with them but i would do it all over agian to save my fellow officer. No words needed to be exchanged but a simple acknowledgment of a hand shake and embrace was good for me. The agency on the other hand does not even acknowledge that fact that this ever happened! It has been 10 years since this happened and i still wake up at night like it just happened yesterday!!! All the personnel in Corrections is a family “One Team One Fight!”
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