A Harris County grand jury has indicted five detention officers in the 2016 alleged beating of a jail inmate.
Jeremy Ringle, Joshua Degler, Napoleon Harmon and Andrew Rowell were indicted for aggravated assault by a public servant, a first degree felony. They face a punishment of 5 to 99 years in prison, or a life sentence, and a fine up to $10,000.
Salvador Garibay was indicted for misdemeanor assault and faces a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000.
“The evidence shows these detention officers crossed the line when it comes to the use of force,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “They caused severe injury to an inmate who needed screws, stitches and a plate to reconstruct his face and a shattered eye socket.”
The officers were working at the jail at 1200 Baker Street during the Sept. 4, 2016 incident. Officials withe Harris County Sheriff’s Office say security cameras documented the incident against inmate Jerome Bartee. The video is evidence in a pending criminal case and a civil lawsuit and therefore has not been publicly released, according to officials.The Internal Affairs Division of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office presented its findings to the DA’s Office’s Civil Rights Division.
“The evidence shows that Jerome Bartee exchanged words with some detention officers,” Assistant District Attorney Jules Johnson of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “He was yanked to the ground by a number of Sheriff’s Office employees and beaten to the point he was unrecognizable.”
None of the officers returned to duty since the incident. Officials say Ringle was terminated in February following an unrelated use-of-force investigation related to a July 2016 incident. Garibay and Rowell were fired in September. Degler and Harmon will be relieved of duty, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Warrants have been issued for the suspects’ arrests.