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Video released in Tucson prison beating incident

Former correctional officers accused of letting it happen
Posted at 7:35 PM, May 27, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. - Former state correctional officers -- accused of letting inmates beat a fellow inmate -- almost to death. Their trials are still pending. Now video and audio reveal more of the case against them.

On July 25 when Javier Chavez came to his job keeping prisoners in custody, he ended up cuffed and in custody.

Investigators arrested co-worker Alfredo Reyes too.

At the time, both were Corrections Officers at the Cimarron Unit, part of the Arizona Prison complex off Tucson’s Wilmot Road.

They’re charged with letting inmates beat an inmate named Raul Moreno so badly, that man spent days in intensive care.

The Arizona Department of Corrections released video, investigative reports and audio of investigators’ interviews as a result of KGUN9’s request under the Arizona Open Records Law. Video shows the victim in a wheelchair being wheeled off for help.

One day after Moreno goes to into intensive care, an investigator tells Reyes:

“This is a very serious deal. He hasn't died yet. But he might. And if he does, you're probably going to get charged with murder.”

Javier Chavez conceded he called for help right away in other inmate attacks. Recordings show he had trouble explaining himself in this case.

Chavez: “I just have a lot going on in my life right now. My head’s kind of screwed up and….(censored) I've lost a lot of family members. And I just, I'm just not mentally My head is just like….”

Investigator: “So did you talk to anybody about that?”

Chavez: “Not really”

Investigator: “Because I would think. I mean, it is kind of incumbent upon you that if you know that you're not right, and you probably shouldn't be working with people. You should go to the end and say you know what? Things aren't right. No, instead, I'm continuing to cover work, and then you find inmate who was assaulted and you just disregard it.”

Chavez and Reyes are also charged with trying to cover up the attack by having inmates move the victim from one cell to another, having inmates clean up the victim’s blood and waiting more than an hour to call for medical help.

Investigators told Chavez: “So that's a felony tampering with evidence. And that you're gonna go to jail for today's conspiracy to tamper with evidence. Because he's an aggravated assault right now because he's got serious injury. But if he dies, it's a homicide. So you just let them clean up the crime scene of homicide.”

Five inmates are charged in the case too. Investigators say the inmates gave the victim what prison slang calls “a hot one” because inmates were angry he was using heroin and that these inmates either were in on the attack or helped clean up the evidence.

An investigator asked Reyes: “You know he was assaulted at that cell?”

Reyes: “Yeah.”

Investigator: “And you didn’t do anything about it?”

Reyes: “Uhh...he just got a hot one and and I didn’t…. “

Investigator: “But is that okay? Is it okay for you as a C-O (Corrections Officer) to say, oh, they're gonna give him a hot one. I'm just gonna let the inmates do their discipline thing, but that's okay?”

Reyes: “No.”

Investigator: “Because that's what you did.”