Security footage released Friday gave details about a potential case of excessive force at the Clark County Jail that prompted an outside criminal investigation.
The video, released by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, shows at least five deputies last August responded to an inmate’s cell to “search his cell and retrieve food trays,” the agency said. The officers then deployed multiple uses of force over the course of about three minutes.
In the incident, which landed a deputy and a sergeant on administrative leave, a deputy can be seen hooking his arm under the inmate’s arms, which are handcuffed behind his back, then driving the inmate’s face and chest into the jail bunk.
Moments later, that deputy and two others restrained the person on the ground. One of the deputies can be seen kneeling on the man.
Then, the footage shows, deputies appear to wrap a tether around the man’s hands, remove his handcuffs and then exit the jail cell. The inmate remains restrained by the tether until the five deputies in unison close the door and forcefully pull the tether out.
The footage shows the man dragged hard enough to pull him backward out of frame, presumably toward the cell door.
It’s unclear how regularly jail staff use the tether device with inmates. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said only that an internal investigation “will determine if this is the proper use of the tether and other techniques used.”
The video released Friday contains no audio. The deputies’ and inmates’ faces are obscured with blurring or black redaction boxes.
The sheriff’s office released three videos, the first two show deputies from outside the inmate’s cell, one from farther away and one from a different, closer angle. The third shows a view from inside the cell.
The footage sheds some light on the incident, which the Clark County Sheriff’s Office disclosed on March 10 in a press release. According to the sheriff’s office, jail administrators learned of the incident after it happened and became concerned upon reviewing the footage.
“It was believed the uses of force were possibly excessive, and in the first instance at least, potentially criminal,” wrote Sgt. Brent Waddell, a sheriff’s office spokesperson.
At the request of Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office led an investigation into the use of force. The findings of that investigation have not yet been released to the public. The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the findings.
“A team of senior-level prosecutors in our office have begun a review of the case, and that review is ongoing,” said Prosecutor Tony Golik said.
The incident landed Deputy Robert Hanks on administrative leave. Sheriff’s office commanders also placed Hanks’ sergeant, who has not been named, on administrative leave because they had not “viewed the video as required.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if Hanks and the sergeant remain on administrative leave.
Sheriff’s office representatives declined to answer further questions Friday.
“We are not prepared to make a formal statement due to the earlier stages of the internal investigation. We will wait for the completed investigation and then provide more information,” Waddell said.