IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Five Iredell County jail employees were disciplined following a violent incident at the Iredell County Detention Center on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Sheriff Darren Campbell said a group of inmates became unruly, and three jail employees used excessive force on one of them, causing minor injuries.
Sheriff Campbell said he learned about the incident the Monday after the incident through a system of ‘checks and balances’ at the detention center. He said once they uncovered the surveillance footage, he placed all involved employees on unpaid suspension within two hours.
“We never had a complaint. We never had a complaint from anyone about this. We found it ourselves, and then I made the decision to act on it,” said the sheriff. “It frustrates me that we provide the training, we set the policies, follow the rules that keep everyone safe. And in this case, those weren’t [followed].”
The Sheriff terminated Sgt. Jonathan Perdue, Deputy Adam Clark, and Detention Officer Tevin Smyre on Nov. 18, six days after the incident. He said they never returned to work between their suspension and termination.
On Nov. 21, he demoted their supervisors, Sgt. Travis Ward (formerly a lieutenant) and Deputy Luke Sparks (formerly a corporal) for failing to report the incident to command staff.
“The supervisors failed to carry out the policies and procedures and the training to catch those shortcomings. We had to come in the next day and catch them,” said Sheriff Campbell.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Ward is the only one of the five involved staff members with previous disciplinary actions. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Ward was suspended without pay for two days in 2000 for ‘violation of proper protocol,’ and was suspended without pay for one day and demoted from a sergeant to a jailer in 2002 for policy violations.
Since July, Detention Officer Smyre had only been employed with the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Campbell asked the State Bureau of Investigation to help with the investigation into the incident and to determine whether criminal charges against the three terminated deputies are warranted.
Queen City News asked the Sheriff to provide us with the surveillance video from the jail, but he said due to the ongoing SBI investigation and state police video laws, he is not able to.