A group of protesters gathered outside the Oklahoma County Detention Center in Oklahoma City on Saturday night, after the jail was placed on lockdown following a hostage situation that resulted in officers killing an inmate.
Video posted on social media showed a law enforcement officer pointing a rifle at demonstrators. A reporter with KFOR-TV of Oklahoma City described the weapon as appearing to be a “non-lethal firearm,” but the type of gun was not confirmed.
The incident inside the jail happened on the 10th floor, where the most difficult-to-manage inmates are sent, Jail Administrator Greg Williams told The Oklahoman newspaper of Oklahoma City.
After being rescued, a corrections officer who was held hostage inside the jail earlier in the day was hospitalized for unspecified reasons. The guard, who was not identified, was able to leave the building under his own power, Williams told The Oklahoman.
Outside the lockup, the leader of the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter said the Oklahoma County jail was known for adverse conditions for inmates.
“This is nothing new,” the Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson told The Oklahoman. “The inhumane conditions of the Oklahoma County jail are horrendous.”
Inmates have complained of moldy food, lack of water and lack of showers, Dickerson told the newspaper.
Earlier in the day, before news emerged that an inmate had been killed, Dickerson called for changes in the way the jail’s inmates are treated.
“They don’t respect the simple dignity of human beings when they stand up and say, ‘I am a person. I don’t deserve to be treated like this,’” Dickerson said.