Three Houston County sheriffs deputies face being fired after a jail inmate was sprayed with a pressure washer.
Lt. Shannon Perry, Sgt. Michelle Becham and Sgt. Ryan Burleson were suspended without pay pending termination Friday for their involvement in the June 9 incident in which an inmate had smeared feces on himself, the wall and floor, said Chief Deputy Billy Rape. Four others also have been suspended without pay.
The fact that a pressure washer was used to clean a cell was not problematic, Rape said.
The problem is they left (the inmate) in the room to clean it, he said. He should have been removed.
The inmate was not injured. Rape noted the pressure washer upon being hooked up was defective, and the pressure was probably far less than a regular garden hose would have been.
Perry was the lieutenant in charge of the shift and allowed the pressure washer to be used, Becham was the housing sergeant who put the plan into effect and Burleson gave directions to the detention officers who used the pressure washer, Rape said.
They should have never let it happen, he said.
Chad Cuskey and Chester Prue, the detention officers who operated the pressure washer, received a five-day suspension and 180-day disciplinary probation, Rape said.
If youre given an order either illegal or immoral, then you dont have to obey it, and they opted to obey the order and participated in it, Rape said.
In addition, Sgt. George Horne and officer Mark Perry received a three-day suspension for having knowledge of the incident but failing to stop or report it, Rape said.
Rape said he learned about the incident Thursday and conducted an investigation. The seven deputies were notified of their discipline Friday. All except Horne and Mark Perry have 10 days to appeal. Rape said suspensions of three days or fewer cannot be appealed.
To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 256-9705.