Jail inmate struggles with officers; taser used to get him back in cell

Published 4:30 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Three Adams County Jail officers were needed to corral an inmate after he refused to go back into his cell on Friday afternoon.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said a jail officer released Jamal Lee Watson, 25, from his cell to take a shower, after which Watson refused to go back into the cell.

Watson is being housed at the jail after firing 13 gunshots into a recreational vehicle filled with occupants as it was attempting to leave the LaFiesta Restaurant on John R. Junkin Drive on April 6.

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Police said at the time the incident was random and the people in the RV had not been targeted for any specific reason.

Watson is being held on $2.1 million bond.

“A struggle ensued between the officer and the inmate, and two other guards came in to try to assist with the matter,” Patten said. “During the process, the inmate was able to get one of the officer’s tasers.”

The three officers were able to get Watson cornered in an area, where a taser had to be deployed for the inmate to be taken into custody, the sheriff said.

The first officer involved in the struggle suffered an elbow injury. The other two officers were not injured, Patten said.

Patten said one of the issues at the jail is the number of inmates who are suffering with mental health issues.

“I believe that at least 45 to 50 percent of the people incarcerated right now have mental health issues,” he said. “What we do with mental health inmates is we keep them here because no one else will take mental health inmates that have charges on them.

“We had a Zoom meeting today with officials from Region 15, the new mental health region Adams County is a part of, and they reassured me they would meet with us in person to get more utilization of the services they offer. But as it stands right now, we have nowhere else to turn but to put inmates with mental health issues in the jail,” Patten said.