Durham County

2 Durham detention officers fired, charged with using unnecessary force

From staff reports

Two officers employed at the Durham County Detention Facility have been fired and charged with simple assault and misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

According to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Captain Don Baker, a mandatory review of inmate non-compliance reports showed detention officers Anita Louise Alston and Rachel L. Smith using force “beyond the amount reasonably necessary” to restrain an inmate. Both were fired and charged after a thorough investigation, Baker stated in a news release.

“Detention Officers work in a very difficult and complex environment. Many times they work in a Pod and supervise 50 or more persons, some of whom are hostile and suffer from mental difficulties,” Durham County Sheriff Michael D. Andrews said in a statement. “It is important that detention officers follow Sheriff’s Office guidelines when interacting with the inmate population. ...With this particular incident policies were not followed.”