Mother of SC inmate who died in prison yard says guards ‘stepped over’ dying son

Published: Apr. 20, 2019 at 10:25 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2019 at 10:26 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A disturbing video has been released depicting a South Carolina Department of Corrections inmate lying on the ground at Turbeville Correctional, bleeding from multiple stab wounds.

Allen Capers, 32, died after suffering stab wounds to his head, neck, stomach, and hand. His family filed a lawsuit over the 2017 incident, claiming the SCDC failed to provide medical care to Capers, which resulted in his death.

According to the lawsuit, inmates gained access to dorm keys, entered into Capers’ cell, stabbing and robbing him of belongings. Then, the lawsuit alleges the inmates attacked eight other inmates, opening doors to other cells in the dorm.

Eventually, Capers’ family alleges a corrections officer dragged Capers outside into the yard, leaving him with no help. A surveillance video from that area shows Capers lying on the ground for almost 40 minutes. At times, officers are seen walking near him, but not rendering any aid.

“They walked past him, no one took him to a medic, the right thing to do, instead of dragging him outside, was to take him to get help,” Debra Capers Dickson, his mother, said.

Justin Bamberg, a state representative, and attorney, is representing the family and said Capers’ death highlights a larger, systematic problem.

“We’re talking about years, years of critical neglect form the state of South Carolina, years of problems with staffing, years of problems with facilities,” he said.

Bamberg said he’s calling on the state legislature to pass a bond bill for capital improvements, which he said would allow for SCDC to receive more federal funding to fix safety concerns within prisons statewide. Bamberg said automatic locks, rather than the older “lock and key” style would prevent inmates from overpowering guards and taking control of cell blocks. With safety enhancements, Bamberg said guards will begin to feel safer, resulting in SCDC having an easier time recruiting and keeping corrections officers.

You can find the full lawsuit below.

Capers Complaint by on Scribd

“What our family is going through, the hurt is indescribable,” Capers Dickson said. “Allen did something wrong but he wanted to do his time because he knew he did wrong, but he wanted to make it right and come home.”

Capers was serving a sentence for armed robbery when he was killed. According to SCDC, 31 charges were filed against inmates involved in the incident following its investigation. A department spokesperson said inmates overpowered a guard and locked him in a cell, creating a hostage situation.

A spokesperson for SCDC released a statement this afternoon about the incident:

Yes, the Department of Corrections needs more funding to replace old buildings and aging, outdated security systems. Correctional officers and staff should be better paid for the hard work they do. We have asked for significant funding to address these and other issues, and we welcome all voices to help us achieve this goal. The fact remains that the staff didn’t render aid in this case. That’s wrong. Director Bryan Stirling is committed to getting to the truth and holding people accountable for the lack of action.

Bamberg said based on findings he’s reviewed, he believes the prison should have been under lockdown conditions following a fatal stabbing of an inmate in November 2017, one month before Capers was killed.

Here are a number of documents linked to the investigations:

Dismissal (1) by on Scribd

Copyright 2019 WIS. All rights reserved.