Former guard says he also suffered attacks by inmates, calls Jackson County jail a ‘free-for-all’

Warning: the video below contains footage of a violent assault. Viewer discretion is advised.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and Sheriff Mike Sharp announced charges for four inmates who allegedly attacked a guard at the Jackson County Detention Center.

Tyrone Willard, 20; Osiris N. Sneed, 20; Rodney V. Rodgers, 24; and Stephen A. Curtner, 20, are all charged with felony assault for the attack which took place on Aug. 26.

FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien spoke to a former guard who said he's also suffered similar attacks.

The former guard said he is glad someone is finally doing something about what he describes as a jail that is totally out of control.

At the courthouse, Baker and Sharp made it perfectly clear: they will prosecute any similar attacks that happen at the jail.

Baker showed a video of the assault at a news conference Wednesday taken from jail surveillance cameras.

"I get really angry when I see in his face, what he knows what is about to happen when he is on that top rail," Baker said, referring to the guard who was attacked.

"If they would have got up to that guy on that rail, they would have thrown him over that rail and there is no telling what would have happened," Sheriff Sharp said.

To save his life, the Jackson County jail guard had to go down and face four inmates in administrative segregation -- the most dangerous section in the detention center, where normally only one inmate is allowed out at a time.

Jean Peters Baker provided a 20-second clip of the attack at the news conference, but FOX 4 obtained the full 2 minute and 18 seconds of video, which is difficult to watch.

"He had broken ribs and bruised kidneys, bruising all over his body, and the rest of the injuries that were listed during the press conference," the former guard told FOX 4.

The former guard (who asked not to be identified) said he has suffered similar attacks over a dozen times.

"I've had a broken nose, two concussions, a messed up shoulder. I mean, I have seen worse happen to other people," he said. "Most assaults are only issued a ticket. A small ticket. They  are taken to the courthouse in Independence and they most likely get time served and nothing is going to happen.... And inmates know that... Inmates know that it is a free-for-all."

The former guard said the latest attack happened after inmates  slipped out of their cell doors during the daily medical check and hid. When the guard was making his routine rounds, the inmates were waiting.

"To be quite honest with you, I was asking for a murder conspiracy charge because these men laid in wait."

"But I want this to be a message to all the other inmates that are in that facility: if you do this again, you will be charged. We will present the case to the pros," Sharp warned. "We will find a place for you to go. You will not stay in Jackson County. If I have to move you to the boot heel of Missouri, I will move you there."

So what does the former guard think needs to be done?

"Get rid of the administration," he said. "And the Sheriff's Department and the Prosecuting Attorney are the only two people trying to do anything for the corrections officers. Jackson County and [County Administrator] Frank White are doing nothing and only getting in the way, and more and more people are going to get hurt."

The man said he left his job at the detention center out of fear.

"Fear for my own safety and my family. The facility is falling apart, poor management, broken equipment, lack of staffing, the list goes on," the former guard said.

When asked if he feared for his life, he said, "when I was in the facility, yes. Everybody is."

County Administrator Frank White issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon.

It is my top priority to ensure that Jackson County operates a safe and secure facility. We are committed to supporting our corrections officers by working to provide fair compensation, appropriate training and a clean and functional facility. Holding inmates accountable for their actions when these incidents occur is essential to maintaining a safe and secure facility.

I am confident that the serious nature of these charges will send a strong message that inmates who choose to engage in such dangerous and violent behavior will be held responsible for their actions. I fully support efforts to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. I appreciate Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and Sheriff Mike Sharp for their work on this investigation.

You can watch the full news conference below: