Smyrna Inmate's Lawsuit: Authorities Harmed Prisoners in Uprisin - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Smyrna Inmate's Lawsuit: Authorities Harmed Prisoners in Uprising

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The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is shown Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: WBOC) The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is shown Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC/AP)- Tactical responders who stormed a Delaware prison to end a deadly inmate uprising earlier this month injured nearly every prisoner in the building, according to an inmate's federal lawsuit.
    
Donald Parkell, 39, who is locked up until 2020 on a burglary conviction, also claims in his 14-page handwritten lawsuit that no more than 10 inmates coordinated and carried out the uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna on Feb. 1 and 2. Correctional officer Lt. Steven Floyd, one of four Department of Correction staffers taken hostage by prisoners, was killed in the unrest.
    
DOC officials have refused to confirm or deny details outlined in Parkell's lawsuit, including that the building where the uprising took place is not equipped with video-surveillance cameras. They say all of the approximately 120 inmates in Building C at the time are considered suspects.
    
"We cannot comment on ongoing or pending litigation," DOC spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said in an email Thursday.
    
Some of the details in Parkell's complaint nevertheless coincide with accounts given by state authorities, including that inmates barricaded entrances with water-filled footlockers and some inmates banded together to protect a female counselor who was rescued.
    
Parkell claims that he and two other inmates - Michael Carello and Tyreek Downing - protected the counselor from other prisoners. Carello's mother, Matilda Carello, said her son's account matches Parkell's.
    
Matilda Carello also said that, in a phone call Thursday, Downing discounted claims that Floyd had warned other prison staffers not to enter the area because inmates had set up a trap. Instead, Downing told Carello that Floyd simply yelled repeatedly for help and nobody came to his rescue.
    
Parkell said in his lawsuit that the DOC hostages had their heads covered with cloth bags or hoods, and that their captors also wore hoods or other disguises to hide their identities.
    
He also said fires set by the inmates triggered a sprinkler system, which they used, along with showers, to fill the footlockers with water. Inmates who did not participate in the uprising banded together to cook food, which they shared while the attackers ate alone, according to Parkell.

Parkell also said that approximately a week after the takeover, the inmates were given no clothes, shoes or linens. He also claims inmates' property was taken after the incident and has yet to be returned to them. 

The lawsuit also alleges inmates' sick call requests and mental health concerns are ignored despite the "extremely traumatic" events that happened at the prison.

Parkell's complaint, filed Tuesday against the prison warden and other staffers, is one of several he has filed against state prison officials over the years, including a pending lawsuit in which he has asserted religious liberty and excessive force claims.
    
Prison officials informed a federal judge last week that settlement talks in that case are on hold because of the uprising.

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