Crime

Inmate at temporary Kansas City jail was attacked by 5 other inmates, police say

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Kansas City police said an inmate was attacked by a group of five other inmates late Thursday at a downtown detention facility.

Officers responded to the Heartland Center for Behavioral Change, 1514 Campbell Ave., just after 9 p.m. on a reported assault. The victim told arriving officers he was assaulted by five other inmates while he was inside a bunk area.

The facility is being used to temporarily house jail inmates after Kansas City’s contract to rent 275 beds at the Jackson County jail ended June 25.

Police reviewed surveillance video to identify four of the inmates who assaulted the victim. Two employees at the center tried to intervene but were not successful, according to police.

The victim was treated at a hospital for a wound to his eyebrow. He was returned to Heartland, but he is being housed away from the inmates who assaulted him.

Four individuals have been charged with the assault at Heartland, according to Rod Richardson, a City Hall spokesman.

The attack on Thursday was the third incident that has occurred at the facility in recent weeks.

In a statement, Richardson said there are security protocols in place and that a new director started a few days ago who will re-evaluate the measures.

“We’re also going to have one of our corporate safety managers conduct a field assessment at Heartland to see what else can be done to improve safety conditions,” he said.

On Aug. 7, officers responded to the facility after William T. Smith, 54, was found dead. Investigators are waiting for the results of an autopsy to determined how Smith died.

Two inmates escaped from the facility. One inmate was arrested the following day and the other inmate remains at large, police said Friday.

Currently, the city has 90 inmates housed at Heartland; 26 in Johnson County; and 24 in Vernon County. Officials said they will continue to meet regularly with Heartland officials for updates and feedback on security issues.

“In the meantime, we are working on a permanent solution and an RFP has already been issued. The responses to that were due on Aug. 1 and we’re now starting to evaluate those responses,” Richardson said in a statement.

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.
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