Disabled men forced into 'fight club' by staff at Texas state facility: Police
AUSTIN, Texas — Profoundly disabled young men were forced into "fight club" style battles by the people hired to care for them in a Texas residential facility, police said Tuesday.
The staged battles -- which appear to have been going on for at least two years -- were discovered when police reviewed the video on a cell phone camera found lying in the road.
"It's some of the worst child abuse I've seen in over 30 years," Corpus Christi Police Captain Tim Wilson said.
"Sometimes we see isolated incidents. What's appalling about this is that it appears to be organized."
The video footage showed staffers provoking the young men until they became physically violent, then shoving them at each other to make sure they fought.
The mentally and physically disabled residents pushed, punched, and kicked each other and then had their arms raised in victory when they were declared the "winner," Wilson said.
They suffered only minor injuries.
Eleven current or former employees of the Corpus Christi State School were identified in the videos, which were discovered last week.
Wilson said he expects to file charges soon.
The Texas legislature is currently debating how to reform the state-run institutions for the disabled after the system came under fire by the US Department of Justice because of systemic abuse and widespread civil rights violations.
An emergency bill was approved Monday to protect residents from mistreatment.
"Once again, our community is faced with the possibility of abuse and neglect involving residents and staff at the Corpus Christi State School," said state representative Abel Herrero, whose district includes the state school.
The incident "further escalates the urgency for reform measures within the state school system and at our campus."
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