On Thursday, September 6th, 2018, the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens, also known as LULAC held an informal press conference in Big Spring outside of the Big Spring Correctional Center in order to bring attention to allegations that had been brought against the Flightline Correctional Center, a private prison run by GEO Group, Inc. that is contracted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
It was during this press conference that Texas LULAC Civil Rights Chair, Agustin Pinedo, announced that the allegations against the correctional facility state that on the night of August 11, 2018, inmate Jose David Garache-Munoz, a Honduran immigrant, was beaten into unconsciousness by correctional staff and that Garache-Munoz was in a coma for 5 days following the incident. The allegations, originating from family members of Garache-Munoz, also state that 2 other inmates were beaten when they tried to intervene, one of whom later died on August 31st, 2018, as a result of his injuries.
KBest News has found that all of the allegations appear to be false; Garache-Munoz was not beaten, nor was he in a coma. According to a letter addressed to LULAC from Flightline Correctional Center Warden Bobby Thompson, Garache-Munoz, on August 11, 2018, was identified as the primary instigator for a potential disturbance of a housing unit. Garache-Munoz refused to obey multiple orders to return to his bunk and positioned himself in an assaultive stance toward staff. He was then pepper-sprayed by staff in order to gain compliance. He was evaluated by on-site medical staff and transported to the hospital where he was treated for eye irritation. During the medical assessment of Garache-Munoz, he was not noted to have bruising, bumps, or lacerations.
Upon his return to Flightline, Garache-Munoz was placed in the Restrictive Housing Unit, which is standard protocol for inmates who engage in disruptive behavior and pose a danger to staff. Warden Thompson advised that after reviewing the records for this housing area, it was found that Garache-Munoz had eaten all 3 of his daily meals during this time frame and had even participated in recreation during 2 of the 5 days that it was offered to him. Warden Thompson also noted that at the time of his letter, which is dated for September 6th, 2018, Garache-Munoz was housed in the Restrictive Housing Unit pending administrative charges for making threats toward staff and attempting to assault staff.
KBest News followed up on the allegation of the inmate death and found that there are no decedent reports that were filed for inmates during the time period in question. Additionally, neither local funeral homes were contacted to remove a deceased inmate, nor was a Justice of the Peace contacted to pronounce an inmate death, which is required by law. Regarding the allegations made at the press conference of one inmate being deceased, one missing, and one in need of medical treatment, KBest has been informed that all three inmates are in the custody of the Big Spring Correctional Center, where they have continued to reside since the night of the disturbance.