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Arizona prison guard union releases more videos of attacks by prisoners

PHOENIX — An Arizona prison guard union released five more videos Tuesday that showed inmates at a Phoenix-area facility leaving their cells due to faulty locks and then assaulting guards.

“The videos themselves show the inmates opening their own cell doors and assaulting officers,” Martin Bihn, attorney for the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“What will happen is the door will appear to be closed … and an inmate can simply open it and get out.”

Bihn said the cells shown in the videos are for level four inmates, who are some of the most dangerous inmates in the state.

The videos were leaked to ABC15 Arizona last week, and the association released them publicly Tuesday.

Bihn said the Arizona Department of Corrections has known about the security problems for five years but has said it doesn’t have the money to address them.

“The situation is extreme, so it finally came to a head,” he said.

Bihn said the association chose not to release a sixth video that shows inmates entering a cell and murdering prisoner Andrew McCormick in June 2018.

Gov. Doug Ducey authorized two investigations into the Department of Corrections following reports of the security issues.

On Tuesday, he launched an independent investigation led by two former Arizona Supreme Court justices. A day earlier, he announced a state-led investigation involving law enforcement officials.

“We need the facts and we need to make sure a situation like this never happens again,” Ducey said in a press release Tuesday.

Bihn said the association is looking forward to the results of the investigations.

“We thought that the governor quickly ordering an investigation and to get to the bottom of this was the absolute right thing to do, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report. 

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