Clark Co. Sheriff’s Office investigating use of force by deputies in county jail

Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 5:24 PM PDT
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CLARK COUNTY, Wash. (KPTV) - The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the use of force by deputies in the Clark County Jail, and has requested an outside agency also conduct a criminal investigation into the matter.

Video taken by cameras inside the jail in August, 2021 show corrections deputies forcibly restraining an inmate inside his cell. At one point, the video shows the deputies using a tether to pull the man’s handcuffed arms through an opening in the cell door they usually use to deliver meals.

According to the sheriff’s department, the required review of video after the incident by a supervisor wasn’t completed, which is a violation of procedure.

The supervisor was disciplined, and one of the deputies involved was placed on administrative leave, while the sheriff’s department conducts and internal investigation.

“Upon being notified of this incident, I viewed the video and was very troubled by what I observed,” said Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins in a written statement. “I know the importance of not jumping to conclusions or prejudging an incident based on video alone. I did, however, order that the matter be immediately referred to an outside agency for criminal investigation.”

At KPTV’s request, Will Wolf, a former corrections deputy who also served as a training officer watched the video of the incident.

“In my personal opinion, if that happened at the correction facility that I worked at, that would definitely be, it’s hard to say an excessive use of force, but it looked like there was more force used than necessary,” said Wolf.

The case is currently being reviewed by both the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.