‘Caused by his own actions,’ Inmate assaulted inside county jail

Published 12:08 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

NATCHEZ — An inmate was assaulted Thursday inside the Adams County Jail and taken to the hospital for an eye injury, law officials said.

The inmate, Darius Bernard, was taken to Merit Health Natchez and received three stitches over his eye, said Major Shane Daugherty of Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

Daugherty said it was a “one-on-one attack” on Bernard by another inmate over commissary items. Bernard chose not to press charges and was moved to another housing unit, Daugherty added.

Darius Bernard

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“It’s not uncommon,” Patten said of fights inside the jail. “Taking something that doesn’t’ belong to you isn’t tolerated on the street and it certainly isn’t tolerated in jail. We don’t condone what happened and took every precaution to make sure he is OK. I’m sorry that this happened, but the reality is what happened to him wasn’t caused by what the jail staff did or didn’t do. That was caused by his own actions. He stole from other individuals and when you do something like that, there are consequences.”

Investigators were interviewing witnesses to find out who was involved in the assault Friday morning.

“We can do some things administratively but it’s up to (Bernard) to press charges,” Patten said. “We can put people on lockdown.”

Bernard was arrested by Natchez Police and charged with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the Jan. 13 shooting death of 35-year-old Antonio Foster.

Patten said Bernard was held in the same cell block as other inmates with felony charges.

Because the jail facility has no recreation area, inmates are allowed out of their cells in “day areas,” which are open areas with benches where they can eat and have the freedom to mingle, Patten said. He said the guards make “around-the-clock” rounds to they are supervised but the surveillance has blind spots.

“It doesn’t help that the facility is not designed to put cameras in certain places,” Patten said. “We need a new jail so we can do better at isolating people. People are thinking a 30 to 40-year-old jail isn’t something that needs to be replaced but what they don’t realize is our doors never close. A jail ages seven times faster than a house. Our people are proud of a lot of things that Adams County has. They are proud of our parks. I want leadership to say that they’re proud of the jail.”