BUFFALO, N.Y. — ​Community members, along with several social justice advocates, set up outside the Erie County Holding Center Friday night, protesting what they call brutality against inmates.

Organizers say families of inmates are reporting beatings and starvation behind the walls of the Holding Center, and families report having a hard time getting a hold of loved ones.

They add that under Sheriff Tim Howard, 31 people have died at the Holding Center and they are demanding that something be done to stop the alleged abuse.

“We've lost 31 people in the Holding Center, people have a right to be afraid and outraged that they are not being allowed to check on the care and safety of their loved ones,” India Walton, Buffalo Mayoral candidate, said.

The sheriff's office responded to the allegations saying, "If this was true, the U.S. DOJ would have taken over the facility."