Three detention officers at the Maricopa County jail were assaulted by inmates over the past two days, with injuries ranging from a broken nose to head trauma, officials said Tuesday.
Field Training Officer Thomas Touchet and Detention Officer Alfred Fuller were attacked by two male inmates while handing out laundry at the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix on Monday, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
During the attack, Touchet suffered a cut in his mouth and Fuller suffered a broken nose, officials said, with both treated for their injuries.
Detention Officer Clinton Payne, a 12-year Sheriff’s Office veteran, faced the most recent attack Tuesday morning and was more seriously injured, officials said.
Payne was beaten and stunned with his own Taser while transporting a detainee in a secured area, officials said. Payne had just removed one of the handcuffs, which is department protocol, so the man could use the restroom, officials said.
“What happened this morning is an example of one of the most egregious acts that our detention officers face in threat of violence, the job that they do every day,” Sheriff Paul Penzone said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The inmate in the Tuesday attack was identified by officials as 36-year-old Shane Tadlock.
Penzone said he attacked the officer, striking him violently, knocking him to the floor and continuing to beat on him.
“He then took the detention officer’s Taser, tasing him multiple times as the detention officer fought back, radioed for help and begged for this criminal to stop attacking him,” Penzone said.
Penzone said the attack went on for about three or four minutes before other detention officers and civilian employees were able to restrain the attacker.
During the beating, Payne refused to give up the security key that would let Tadlock out of the security area, Penzone said.
Payne suffered multiple facial fractures and will have a long recovery, Penzone said.
“The courage that he had even as he spoke in his hospital bed, so severely beaten and swollen that he was basically unrecognizable,” Penzone said.
Penzone said people do not see the challenges that go on behind the walls of a jail.
“I believe it is long overdue to start talking about these issues,” he said.
Penzone said the Sheriff’s Office currently employs 1,800 detention officers, 200 short of what they should have to properly staff the jail.
He said additional funding and other resources could help address the issue and provide a safer environment for detention officers.
Penzone said the agency will seek charges against anyone responsible for injuring employees.
“We can no longer tolerate or allow for violent people in our community to threaten our safety,” he said. “I absolutely am taken aback by it, disgusted, and there is no punishment enough for people like this.”
Tadlock has been in the Fourth Avenue Jail on charges of armed robbery, dangerous-drug possession and drug paraphernalia.
The two inmates involved in the first case of assault were identified by officials as 23-year-old Jamaine Richardson and 39-year-old Jerrold Burnett.
Burnett is being held on a charge of first-degree murder and armed robbery. Richardson is being held on several counts of armed robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and threats.
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