Washington corrections deputy under criminal investigation for force

A southwest Washington corrections deputy is under criminal investigation after authorities say force was used to restrain a handcuffed person inside the Clark County Jail.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said Corrections deputy Robert Hanks was put on disciplinary administrative leave after the Aug. 13 incident, The Columbian reported.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday completed an investigation into the incident and presented its findings to Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik, according to Sheriff Chuck Atkins.

Atkins said he was "very troubled" by surveillance footage of the incident.

"I know the importance of not jumping to conclusions or prejudging an incident based upon video alone," Atkins said in a statement. He said he ordered that the matter be referred to the outside agency for a criminal investigation.

Golik is mulling whether to pursue charges, Atkins said. The sheriff’s office will now commence its internal probe, Atkins said.

Authorities have not publicly identified the inmate or said whether he was hurt.

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android. And sign up for BREAKING NEWS emails delivered straight to your inbox.

The agency said Hanks entered the person’s cell — which was located in the jail’s maximum-security unit because of "his history of violence" and prior assaults on jailers — to retrieve food trays and conduct a search.

Hanks allegedly used force against the handcuffed inmate while other corrections workers searched the cell, according to the sheriff’s office. Hanks and the other deputies again used force while removing the cuffs, the agency said.

A sergeant was disciplined for neglecting to review video footage of the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.

The jail commander later watched the video, as is standard protocol, and determined the "uses of force were possibly excessive, and in the first instance at least, potentially criminal," according to the sheriff’s office.

The other deputies involved also face pending internal affairs investigations, Atkins said.

The sheriff’s office has not publicly identified the other deputies or the sergeant who was disciplined. Attempts to locate Hanks for comment were unsuccessful.

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram