A corrections officer at the Calhoun County Jail is being investigated after an inmate’s family accused him of using excessive force.
According to a press release from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, the alleged incident occurred Thursday night. The CCSO statement reads:
On the evening of February 20, 2014, a Calhoun County Jail inmate, Ventura Brown, began kicking and striking a door with his fist in an attempt to destroy County property.
This got the attention of Aaron Doyal, the corrections officer on duty, who then entered the cell in an attempt to protect county property and the inmate from causing harm to himself. The inmate had left the phone line open and relatives listening on the open line accused the corrections officer of using excessive force on the inmate. Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office has chosen to provide video and audio recordings to the State’s Attorney’s office in order for them to review the incident.
Finding out more details turned into a game of 20 questions over the past few days. TCR News Editor Kelli Peacock Dunn inquired about any internal investigation the CCSO conducted as is common when an officer is accused. The CCSO spokesperson kept referring her to the press release and the State Attorney’s Office. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to get real answers on the CCSO handling of the incident, Peacock Dunn stated to the spokesperson:
My questions are not being answered and I'm baffled as to why that is. Did the CCSO do an internal investigation on this case or not? Did Officer Doyal prepare a statement on what occurred? Did Officer Doyal's supervisor prepare a statement? Who handles internal affairs for the CCSO? I KNOW this is NOT the duty of the state attorney's office.
I'd like to know Sheriff Kimbrel's opinion on this case as it is HIS employee and HIS jail and HIS investigation. Does HE think a crime was committed? Has the officer been placed on leave? If so, is it paid or unpaid? When did that leave begin? Or has he been terminated? These are not questions for the state attorney…these are questions for the sheriff elected to MAKE these decisions, not pass the buck. I'd appreciate a response to THESE questions…not what [Assistant State Attorney] Ana Garcia believes. I trust her legal opinion, but I thought that is why we have a sheriff and internal affairs. Her job is to prosecute cases you send to her office.
Finally, a response: “No internal investigation is being conducted by CCSO. The State’s Attorney’s Office is conducting the investigation. Officer Doyal and his supervisor did both prepare a statement. Each of which have been submitted to the State’s Attorney’s Office as part of the investigation in process. At this time, Sheriff Kimbrel has no opinion. He relies on fact. As to whether or not the Sheriff thinks a crime was committed, he is not sure, that is why he asked the State’s Attorney’s Office to investigate. The officer has been placed on paid leave beginning today (Saturday and Sunday were his regular days off).”
Sheriff Kimbrel stopped by The County Record office Monday afternoon and said he did have an opinion on the case, but wanted the State Attorney’s Office to give “a second opinion.”
Sheriff Kimbrel said the incident on the video lasted “maybe 10 seconds...it’s quick,” but it was not conclusive to him whether a crime had occurred.
Sheriff Kimbrel says he anticipates a decision on the 10-second video by Friday, eight days after the alleged incident occurred. TCR has requested a copy of the video and all related reports.