Oklahoma City police shot and killed an inmate at the Oklahoma County jail after a hostage situation Saturday night involving a guard, reports The Oklahoman. The incident occurred when an inmate from jail’s 10th floor, where the inmates that are the hardest to manage are housed, took a guard hostage during medicine distribution, took his radio and keys, and freed other inmates from nearby cells. Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department officials asked for help from the Oklahoma City Police Department because the sheriff’s office didn’t have enough staff to enter the jail. Sheriff Tommie Johnson III said his deputies and police tried to de-escalate the situation, but that the inmate had the officer in a hostage position with something held against the officer’s neck and that’s when police shot and killed him.
The incident is linked to growing complaints by inmates and activists against the allegedly conditions inside the Oklahoma County jail. Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, leader of Black Lives Matter-Oklahoma City, contends that inmates have repeatedly complained about moldy food, lack of water and access to basic sanitation, including showers. In a video of the incident shared online that appeared to be from inside the jail the inmate complains about jail conditions, saying, “We can’t take showers.” Five inmates have died at the jail so far this year, and two others escaped.