A former inmate at the Jackson County Jail claims he witnessed officers beating Ngan Tran, the man found hanged in his jail cell on Wednesday for days leading up to his death.
The former inmate contacted Tran's family on Friday to tell them about what he says he saw. The man who did not wish to be identified, also spoke with WLOX on the condition of anonymity. He told us that he was in block "B," the maximum security area of the jail, with Tran at the Jackson County Jail when Tran died.
"I was locked up with him at the ADC. He got jumped on by the police."
The man says his cell was right next to Tran's cell. The former inmate claims he saw three officers beating Tran.
"[They] kicked him and punched him. They just beat him. I saw it and heard it."
The man says the beatings continued off and on for five or six days. He told us that Tran complained of being hurt but never got medical attention.
"I felt sorry for him. The man ribs came swollen. You can see the bone."
The former inmate says the beatings continued Wednesday, the same day Tran died.
"They were jumping him, wouldn't give him no medical help, and then they jumped him another time, and I was banging on the wall to get him to say something, let me know if he's hurt. But he never say nothing. And then they came back in the cell, they done something else and walked out again. I called him again, and he still say nothing. And then later on, the next day, they say he was dead.
"I said they killed him."
As soon as he was released from jail, the inmate contacted Tran's family.
"He gave me their phone number. [He said] if anything happened to him, call his family and tell them he loved them."
Tran's girlfriend, Tuyen Nguyen, told WLOX News she believes what Mike has told her.
"When I heard he died, I wanted to die too, but I keep thinking about my two kids and my family. He has written me letters, telling me he can't wait to see me again, so why would he kill himself ?"
The former inmate told us he was afraid to tell anyone what happened because he says the officers in the jail told him not to say anything.
Sheriff's investigators say they want to talk to him or want him to at least turn over his information to the FBI.
Chief Deputy Don Stewart said the department is not trying to cover up anything.
"If there is wrongdoing in this department, we are going to uproot it, expose it and get rid of it. But, we'll do it the procedural way," Stewart said.
The FBI would only confirm they are involved in the investigation, but would not release any details.
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