Following an impromptu inspection of the D.C. jail, a federal judge has ordered the release of January 6 defendant, Christopher Worrell, over the mistreatment of detainees.
The surprise inspection of the jail by U.S. Marshals took place last month, but the report from the inspection was not made public until Wednesday.
Due to the findings, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said he has “‘zero confidence that the D.C. jail’ will provide the treatment correctly and not retaliate against Worrell,” who has cancer, CNN reported Wednesday.
Lamberth called the jail conditions “deplorable” and “beyond belief,” ordering Worrell transferred immediately to another jail and then released home to start cancer treatment, the report outlined.
Some 400 prisoners are being moved out of the jail after the “deplorable” conditions were uncovered. According to CNN, the Marshals’ report found that water was being shutoff in many cells “for punitive reasons” for days at a time, toilets were clogged, and an inmate who had been pepper-sprayed was “unable to wash the spray off for days, leading to an infection.”
The D.C. Department of Corrections staff were “antagonizing detainees” and “directing detainees to not cooperate with” U.S. Marshals during the inspection, the agency said, and “[o]ne DOC staffer was observed telling a detainee to ‘stop snitching.’”
Last month, Lamberth called for the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation into the matter and held two officials in contempt of court for delaying medical treatment to Worrell, The Daily Beast reported.
“It’s more than just inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers,” Lamberth blasted. “Does no one care? Does no one follow up?”
“I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abused,” the judge asserted.
“During the hearing, Lamberth said that jail officials failed to turn over critical information that was needed to approve surgery for the accused rioter’s broken wrist—even though the medical procedure was recommended four months ago,” the report noted.
“I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6th defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of January 6th defendants … in this and maybe other cases,” Lamberth said.
The FBI this summer reportedly found little evidence that the Capitol breach on January 6 was part of an organized plot to overturn the results of the election.
“[T]he FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations,” a Reuters report outlined.