VANCOUVER, Wash. – A Southwest Washington Corrections deputy is under criminal investigation after authorities say force was used to restrain a handcuffed person inside the county jail from Clark.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Robert Hanks was placed on disciplinary administrative leave following the Aug. 13 incident, The Columbian reported.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department completed an investigation into the incident on Thursday and presented its findings to Clark County District Attorney Tony Golik, according to Sheriff Chuck Atkins.
Atkins said he was “very disturbed” by surveillance footage of the incident.
“I know it’s important not to jump to conclusions or prejudge an incident based on video alone,” Atkins said in a statement. He said he ordered the matter be referred to the outside agency for criminal investigation.
Golik is considering whether to press charges, Atkins said. The sheriff’s office will now begin its internal investigation, Atkins said.
Authorities have not publicly identified the incarcerated person or indicated whether he was injured.
The agency said Hanks entered the person’s cell – which was located in the prison’s maximum-security unit due to “his history of violence” and previous assaults on jailers – to retrieve materials. food trays and perform a search.
Hanks allegedly used force against the handcuffed person while other correctional officers searched the cell, according to the sheriff’s office. Hanks and the other deputies again used force as they removed the handcuffs, the agency said.
A sergeant was disciplined for failing to review video footage of the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.
The prison commander then viewed the video, as is standard protocol, and determined that “the use of force was possibly excessive and, initially at least, potentially criminal,” according to the office. of the sheriff.
The other MPs involved are also facing ongoing home affairs investigations, Atkins said.
The sheriff’s office has not publicly identified the other deputies or the sergeant who was disciplined. Attempts to locate Hanks for comment were unsuccessful.