NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Halfway through August, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office used what they said were flash bangs in an operation with the Department of Corrections to end a protest by inmates for better living conditions.
However, according to the family of Jarrell Stevenson, any injuries involved were underreported.
“She was like, ‘I can’t tell you what happened.'” I said, ‘you don’t have to tell me what happened. Your voice tells me enough. That it’s worse than what we think it is,'” Stevenson’s aunt, Shannon Arvie said.
Stevenson suffered four broken ribs and two collapsed lungs from what the family believed was a bean bag bullet. Stevenson called them from his hospital bed nearly one week after the incident. The family said that was the first they heard anything was wrong.
WGNO reported the use of force just hours after it happened Aug. 14.
Sheriff Susan Hutson allegedly told Stevenson’s family, the media was warned about the force that would be used. However, in an email sent to WGNO, Sheriff Hutson was quoted saying in part, “I promised our community that we would reduce the use of force inside OJC and I intend to honor that promise.”
“To me, she’s not doing no job,” Stevenson’s mother, Zennitria said. “She’s never there. To me, it’s just all about the money.”
Sheriff Hutson ran a campaign on transparency. However, Stevenson’s family claimed they have never seen any of that. The family said, if they don’t, they’ll take action against her.
“It’s sad and it’s sad for anybody to have to endure what he went through,” Arvie said.
WGNO spoke to OPSO who only confirmed that two phone calls with the family happened.
As far as requests made by inmates in pod 2E, which prompted the protest, OPSO staff said they are working on a new schedule for rec time across the jail. The warden is also having weekly meetings with representatives from each pod to discuss any improvements they would like made.
Investigators are currently in the process of gathering evidence and information to identify the person(s) responsible for this incident, as well as a motive. No additional details are currently available.