Why Isn't Agent Ramos Being Protected?

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 12, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Impact" segment tonight, as you know, former border patrol agent Ignacio Ramos, convicted of shooting a Mexican illegal alien dope dealer, was roughed up in prison last week. "Factor" producer Jesse Watters traveled to Mississippi to ask the warden of the Yazoo city prison, Constance Reese, how that could possibly happen.

But Ms. Reese who's driving this car now, spotted us, and sped away. She successfully evaded Jesse. But he did talk to an official, who says the prison is chaotic.

DAN DITTO, YAZOO CITY PRISON AGENT: This is a system out of control. Period. The warden should have caught it. I mean, when they said they were going to send this high publicity guy here, it's like had she been referring on to the director how out of control that prison was, if she had been telling the truth about, you know, what was going on, there's just no way to mince words on that and stuff. The inmates are running the system.

O'REILLY: Now how could the inmates be running a federal penitentiary?

Joining us now from Washington is Tara Setmayer, communications director for Congressman Dan Rohrabacher.

Ms. Setmayer toured the prison with Warden Constance Reese and met with Ramos.

First of all, let's talk about the agent. What condition is he in? What did he say to you?

TARA SETMAYER, VISITED AGENT RAMOS IN PRISON: Well, to classify his injuries as minor, I think, is disingenuous on the part of the prison.

He was clearly severely beaten. He was bruised from the top of his shoulder, all the way down to his elbow, yellow, purple, deep bruises.

He had stomp marks on his back, on his shoulder blades with the actual imprint of the sole of the boots that were used to attack him. He had abrasions and bruises along his ribs.

His entire left side of his body, his wrist and knees were scratched up. He was severely beaten. And he also suffered from nausea for a couple days, which meant to me he had a concussion. But he had no medical attention until Monday from a nurse and then Wednesday from a doctor.

O'REILLY: And when he was beaten?

SETMAYER: There's no way to determine that. He was beaten on Saturday evening.

O'REILLY: All right, so it's 48 hours before he got medical attention.

Now did you get to the bottom of why Ramos was in with the general population when anybody would have known that you got to protect the man and keep him away from those people?

SETMAYER: Well, what the warden explained to me — she said that she encourages the prisoners to assimilate into the general population because of how restrictive special housing is, which it is. I mean, the — special housing is just a euphemism for isolation. And they have no privileges there. They can only use the phone once every 30 days. They're in their prison cells for 23 hours a day. They have recreation in cages, as opposed to low security where they're in a dormitory style cubicle and they have more freedom.

O'REILLY: But isn't there any — in a federal penitentiary, isn't there any area where high danger prisoners can be kept without punishing them in?

SETMAYER: One would think.

O'REILLY: Yes, one would think.

SETMAYER: One would think. And apparently that's not the case. I mean, she gave us the tour of the facility as if this were very matter of fact. She didn't really have a sense of urgency. And that concerned me.

O'REILLY: All right, because now Ramos is in the secured wing, where he doesn't get a lot of time outside. He doesn't get a phone. Correct?

SETMAYER: That's right.

O'REILLY: All right, they got him out of there.

SETMAYER: One hour a day.

O'REILLY: Now he could have been killed - easily killed. And does Reese understand that or care?

SETMAYER: Well absolutely. He was attacked by six prisoners apparently. And there's only one correctional officer responsible for 147 inmates in this part of the unit. And that correctional officer was doing the count, which they do every night at 10:00 on the other side of the unit.

So the two inmates who were rooming with Mr. Ramos knew that the hit was coming. They left the cubicle. And that's when the three individuals, which ended up to be six, came in and they began this assault on him.

And it took another inmate to come and escort Mr. Ramos over to the shift lieutenant to report what took place.

And I can tell you that when I queried Constance Reese about why wouldn't you take precautionary measures. She said to me, well, do you really think that this media attention is doing a service for Mr. Ramos? He's going to be identified no matter where he goes. And that troubled me.

O'REILLY: Well, look, this woman is an incompetent. We know that. The Bureau of Prisons has no satisfactory answer. As we discussed, there should be an area for prisoners in danger, where they're not punished.

SETMAYER: That's right.

O'REILLY: And all of these things. But what's going to happen now? I mean, Congressman Rohrabacher didn't go down with you. You were down there with Congressman Tancredo.

But surely, you have to replace Reese. She's got to go. And the Bureau of Prisons head, I would assume he's got to go too if what the union — we just heard the union president just say this prison is out of control and being run by the inmates. How can that happen at the federal level?

SETMAYER: Well, that's what we're trying to get to the bottom of. I know Congressman Duncan Hunter has called for the resignation of Mr. Lapin. And you know, Constance Reese, the whole — I'm glad we had the opportunity to take a look first-hand, because people needed to see what was going on there and needed to visit with Mr. Ramos.

But she would not allow us to see the photos that were taken. She wouldn't allow us to review any of the reports. To my understanding, an investigation didn't even begin into this incident until about Tuesday. So people need to understand that we're going to try and make sure Mr. Ramos (INAUDIBLE) are freed.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, let's protect them first.

SETMAYER: Free on bond.

O'REILLY: Let's protect them, then we'll get them out of there. But Reese has got to go. And so does Latham. They've got to go. Ms. Setmayer, thanks very much.

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