Local News

Durham detention officers fired, charged with assault

Posted December 7, 2015
Updated December 8, 2015

“During a mandatory supervisory review of inmate non-compliance reports, the Command Staff at the Office of the Sheriff of Durham County’s Detention Facility determined that Officer Anita Louise Alston and Officer Rachel L. Smith utilized force that appeared to be beyond the amount reasonably necessary to restrain a detainee,” said a statement from the Durham County Sheriff's Office.
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— Two Durham detention officers were fired from their positions last week after using unnecessary force to restrain a detainee, said the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

“During a mandatory supervisory review of inmate non-compliance reports, the Command Staff at the Office of the Sheriff of Durham County’s Detention Facility determined that Officer Anita Louise Alston and Officer Rachel L. Smith utilized force that appeared to be beyond the amount reasonably necessary to restrain a detainee,” the Durham County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The two officers were terminated from the sheriff’s office and, following a separate investigation, were charged with simple assault and misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

“Detention officers work in a very difficult and complex environment. Many times they work in a pod and supervise 50 or more persons, some of whom are hostile and suffer from mental difficulties. It is important that detention officers follow sheriff’s office guidelines when interacting with inmate population,” Sheriff Michael Andrews said in a statement.

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  • Walter Bartlett Dec 13, 2015
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    One of the officers was felony assaulted first by the inmate, by the inmates own admission. And you're basing your opinion on a news story without even seeing any video or pictures of the event.

    I know if some inmate assaulted me, they would be toting a well deserved whooping right back. These people aren't in some "street beef" with the inmates, they are doing a job and being physically harmed because of the clothes they're wearing.

  • BigWillie Johnson Dec 8, 2015
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    A book you might want to read Jay that delves into this further is called the "Thin Blue Line." It is about a murder in Dallas. I do know, that I do not expect LE to protect me. Plus, even as a law abiding system, I am very wary when I have to have any involvement with them.

  • Jay Bettis Dec 8, 2015
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    Bigwillie, I'm not sure where you're going with this; however, sadly, your premise is remarkably sound.

  • BigWillie Johnson Dec 8, 2015
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    The people in LE come from the same socio-economic group as the criminals. So to act surprised when LE exhibits criminal behavior shows a lack of understanding of our culture.