Thursday, May 14, 2009

Videos of fight club at Texas school for people with intellectual disabilities have been released

Corpus Christi, Texas - Following last week's news (May 7) that six former employees of a Corpus Christi state institution for people with intellectual disabilties had been charged with staging fight club-style brawls between residents for the "entertainment" of night shift employees, ABC News now reports that cell phone videos of the fights have now been released. Here is an excerpt:

Terrified residents at a Corpus Christi, Texas, state school for the mentally disabled were forced to be part of a brutal "fight club" operated by night shift employees, who made videos of the sessions with their cell phones, the newly released videos show.

On the videos employees can be seen and heard laughing and prodding the residents to fight.One resident is seen on the video trying to run away from his attacker and a large group of employees and residents tracking him through the halls. When cornered, he wails and moans and tells the employees, "I will behave."

The videos were discovered by police in March when one of the school employees left his phone at a hospital and it was turned over to police. In an effort to find its owner, officers saw the disturbing videos.

A judge ordered the tapes released to an attorney suing the state on behalf of a former resident also forced into the "fight club."

"It happened for over a year and it happened for many nights out of the week," said the attorney, Bob Hilliard.

Hilliard's client, Armando Hernandez, says he was told he would "go to prison" if he did not fight.

Hernandez, who is mentally disabled, says he was fearful to even tell his mother of what was happening inside at night.

"They say 'snitches get stitches,'" Hernandez told ABC News.

A Nightline report including video is here (trigger warning).