2 de­ten­tion of­fi­cers fired, charged with as­sault af­ter in­ci­dent with in­mate

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY VIR­GINIA BRIDGES [email protected]­ald­sun.com Vir­ginia Bridges: 919- 829- 8924, @vir­giniabridges

Two Durham County de­ten­tion of­fi­cers were charged with mis­de­meanor as­sault and fired Fri­day af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found one of the of­fi­cers used ex­ces­sive force against an in­mate, ac­cord­ing to the sher­iff’s of­fice.

Joseph Har­ris, a 25year-old de­ten­tion of­fi­cer, filed a use-of-force re­port Sept. 23 re­lated to an in­ci­dent with an in­mate, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the Durham County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Har­ris’s su­per­vi­sor re­viewed the re­port and sur­veil­lance video of the in­ci­dent, which the in­mate did not re­port. The in­mate later told of­fi­cials he was not in­jured, the sher­iff’s of­fice said. The su­per­vi­sor be­lieved there was ev­i­dence of ex­ces­sive force and for­warded the in­for­ma­tion to sher­iff’s of­fice of­fi­cials.

In­ter­nal and crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions fol­lowed, and Har­ris was charged. He had been work­ing in Durham as a de­ten­tion of­fi­cer since May 21.

Austin Tay­lor, 26, was charged with ac­ces­sory to as­sault. Tay­lor was hired on July 5, 2016.

“This does not re­flect the work ef­forts of the men and women of the Durham County Sher­iff’s Of­fice,” said Sher­iff Mike An­drews in a state­ment. “In­ci­dents such as these will not be tol­er­ated and will be ad­dressed through the courts. It is un­for­tu­nate that we had to take this ac­tion against two of our own to­day.”

Col. An­thony Prig­nano, in­terim chief deputy for the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, said the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of a de­ten­tion of­fi­cer is car­ing for those housed in the jail.

“If there is any con­nec­tion be­tween of­fi­cer and

com­mu­nity, it is one of trust. Once that link is sev­ered, dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions must be made,” Prig­nano said in a state­ment. “In this in­ci­dent, ter­mi­na­tion and charges were pru­dent.”

Austin Tay­lor

Joseph Har­ris

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