It’s one thing to deal with the sheriff’s failures, it’s completely another to see co-worker after co-worker fall to their own failures. As I understand it, the investigation into these two latest correction officers is now over a year old. The timeline on this investigation bothers me, it should bother you, it should bother everyone. This case may be the epitome of what we’ve been saying is the problem with the sheriff’s IA policies — she uses them unfairly, and at times to hide problems from the public because image is more important than safety.
I mentioned these two correction officers very briefly some months ago, during the BRC, when they began the investigation into this case, we believe for the second time.
As I understand it, these two correction officers gave a female inmate a classic beatdown, kicking and hitting her. I was told the inmate was unable to identify exactly who did what to her because she was protecting her head from being kicked while she was down. Another, newer officer who saw what happened reported the incident to superiors as inappropriate use of force on an inmate. This was over a year ago now, which makes it difficult to believe the investigation just started a few months ago. Though it is possible it was delayed this long, which leaves another whole set of questions about the priorities of IA.
From that point on the reporting officer is alleged to have been harassed by her co-workers and by the time IA got around to doing interviews, nearly a year later, she had either forgotten or been intimidated into pretty much “forgetting” the details of the incident.
Around the same time this incident happened, one of the correction officers dropped a lawsuit she had filed against several co-workers for harassment. Pure speculation, but convenient – quid pro quo? It wouldn’t be the first lawsuit the sheriff managed to get dropped thereby diverting an internal affairs investigation. Could that be the reason the investigation wasn’t initiated until outside people were looking because Michael Tyree? It would be the third IA/lawsuit diverted in “trade”, the other two were sexual harassment cases.
The investigator appears to have delayed and possibly attempted to divert this case before all hell broke loose in the jails with multiple deaths. That individual was recently just promoted to sergeant and given a special assignment, despite what appears to be a failure to act on a critical IA case in a timely manner. This is what we promote? Yes. Oh, wait a second — didn’t the sheriff just tell the Board of Supervisors that she always has sergeants do internal affairs investigations? Or maybe she meant she can manipulated IA’s with promises of promotions to sergeant. Who knows, it’s not like she has a penchant for telling us the truth about anything.
This case, if what I’m being told is entirely true, or even mostly true, puts on display the worst of the sheriff’s problems. Not problems that she missed, but problems she’s helped create or worked to hide thereby allowing the culture to believe these behaviors are accepted.
Yes, I know, her IA division is busy. There are so many cases since the investigations started. But this incident happened and was known about months before this glut of internal affairs cases. It should have been easily prioritized and dealt with in an immediate manner, with these officers off duty during that time. Instead we had two deputies, who allegedly physically assaulted an inmate, on duty for another year, possibly being led to believe that nothing would happen to them for the first part of that time.
If these two deputies assaulted the inmate as is being describe to me, I wish them the best of luck in our system. I have no sympathy for those that are guilty of such actions. They filthy all their co-workers uniforms and the good people in law enforcement, corrections or enforcement, bear the public brunt of their actions.
All the right things were done by the new officer that witnessed the assault by the accounts I’ve heard. They stepped up to the plate and reported the incident. The only ones who have paid the price for the incident until today are that officer and the inmate. Because of the way this was handled by the sheriff and her IA investigator, again we will be accused of not stepping up to break that “thin blue line” yet again. The officer who stood tall and did the right thing was unprotected by her administration, and will be forgotten by the public.
And still no one in the public is voicing the words, “Sheriff, go home!” How many people have to be hurt, have to die, have to end up in the hospital, have to endure being a target in an office that refuses to conduct internal affairs with any real integrity?
Enough is enough.