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DC jail guards report 'chaos' inside as inmates protest COVID-19 lockdown

Inmates are protesting shower and phone restrictions according to a guards report to D.C. Department of Corrections.

WASHINGTON — D.C. jail guards put down an inmate protest Wednesday night over COVID-19 lockdown measures, according to a report obtained by WUSA9 written by D.C. jail guards and sent to DC’s Department of Corrections.

One guard wrote of an "entire jail unit in chaos" Wednesday night after 8 p.m. when inmates began shouting through their cells and refusing to take their hands out of the food slots in protest.

Inmates claim they haven't been allowed to shower for more than four days, or use the phones to call family and attorneys during COVID-19 lockdown.

Those claims are similar to what independent inspectors confirmed in the D.C. jail two weekends ago.

Two inmates were pepper-sprayed by guards when they refused to keep their hands in their cells.

WUSA9 asked D.C. Department of Corrections for comment and we’re waiting to hear back.

RELATED: ACLU wins suit against DC Department of Corrections calling for immediate updates amid coronavirus pandemic

Mayor Muriel Bower on April 13 confirmed the first inmate death at the D.C. Central Detention Facility.

Deon Crowell, 51, passed away the morning of April 13, after being hospitalized from COVID-19, DOC officials confirm.

He was taken from the Correctional Treatment Facility and hospitalized on April 7, after testing positive for COVID-19 and experiencing respiratory issues. His next-of-kin were notified of his passing by the DOC Chaplain.

RELATED: DC Central Detention Facility records first inmate death after COVID-19 diagnosis

Crowell has been held at the DOC since June 29, 2018. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on April 7 and was placed in isolation where he was monitored by medical staff according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and D.C. Health, officials said.

"Our condolences are with Mr. Crowell's family during this difficult time," D.C. Department of Corrections spokesperson Dr. Keena Blackmon said.

Blackmon said an email was sent to the staff at the D.C. Department of Corrections on April 13, notifying employees of Crowell's death.

WUSA9 first reported Crowell's attorneys had tried to secure a medical release days prior to his death. Attorney Elizabeth Weller released a statement to WUSA9 Monday afternoon. Read the full statement here.

RELATED: Hazards found inside DC jails during surprise inspections

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