published Monday, November 21st, 2011

Video: Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond to review excessive force policy

A screen capture from surveillance video at the Hamilton County Jail, left, shows corrections officers Daniel Harden and Andrew Standifer holding inmate Stephen Minney as he was moved from booking to a holding cell Sept. 17.
A screen capture from surveillance video at the Hamilton County Jail, left, shows corrections officers Daniel Harden and Andrew Standifer holding inmate Stephen Minney as he was moved from booking to a holding cell Sept. 17.
  • Jail security footage released
    Footage released from Hamilton County Sheriff's Office shows corrections officers, Daniel Harden and Andrew Standifer placing a 55-year-old inmate into a holding cell. Both Harden and Standifer received a one-day suspension for violating use of force policy.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said the department’s excessive force policy may be revisited after two corrections deputies did not follow procedure with an intoxicated inmate.

The policy on excessive force should be tightened up, according to a memo from Hammond in the internal affairs file on the incident.

“What I wanted to do was make sure this particular case — was it what it was reported to be? [The issue is] not about them being adequately trained, but about whether the training is the best it can be,” Hammond said. “We have a responsibility to keep the inmates safe and jailers safe. Anything used is going to be constantly reviewed, depending on issues that come to forefront.”

On Sept. 18, corrections officers Daniel Harden and Andrew Standifer moved 55-year-old Stephen Minney from the booking area to a holding cell. While they were placing him in the cell, Minney got a cut on his head.

Minney, a homeless man, was arrested by East Ridge police officers on charges of public intoxication after he was found walking near Parkridge Medical Center. He was verbally abusive and uncooperative, according to multiple reports.

Video footage from the incident shows Harden and Standifer placing Minney into a cell. It shows Standifer putting his right knee to Minney’s back as Minney was taken to the floor.

The Times Free Press submitted an open records request Oct. 26 for the video, which was made available Nov. 15. Officials said it took weeks to consult with legal counsel before releasing the footage.

The review of the use of force policy is part of a routine and ongoing review of all department policies, officials said.

Beyond escorting an inmate and using empty-hand control, use of pepper spray or a Taser is considered the next level of force, according to the policy.

Standifer and Harden could not be reached for comment. In interviews with investigators, both officers said they were unaware of any procedures related to moving disruptive inmates in the jail to the holding area. Both officers have worked at the sheriff’s office for about a year.

Hammond said corrections officers receive most of their training on how to handle inmates through in-service training. He said in each case dealing with inmates is different.

The officers’ supervisor, Sgt. Kelvin Pell, also was disciplined for not intervening sooner, according to the report. Pell and the officers were all suspended for one day.

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cheesy_rider said...

Stephen I've felt your pain !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwlm9cxbY_M

November 21, 2011 at 1:30 a.m.
obviously said...

nothing to see here....They guy was homeless, verbally abusive, and uncooperative. Just follow the rules, and everyone will be happy.

November 21, 2011 at 7:17 a.m.
easyeintn said...

Obviously... what does the man being homeless have to do with anything? The guy was in handcuffs... he wasnt a threat to two larger guys standing behind him. A 1 day suspension just shows there is a tolerance for actions like this. A three day weekend is hardly punishment.

November 21, 2011 at 8:05 a.m.
dennis said...

Sheriff Hammond, As a former police office from a city having served 30 years, I find the video of the arrest of the reported homeless man disturbing. I know that suspects can become hard to handle, cussing and threating officers during arrest, but this is still no reason to handle an inmate in the manner that this man appeared to be handled. I think that you will agree that the video doesn't lie. Law enforcement depends on it each and every day. The manner in which this man was seen to be treated by your employee's shows me that either your department is under trained or has no respect for the people that they are hired to serve. I know that some attorney is going to see this video and he is going to contact that homeless man and convince him that he can get a lot of money out of your department, which is going to cost the tax payers of Hamilton County money. You know and I know that counties and cities look at the total cost of a case when they are deciding to defend themselves, and most often find it in their best interest just to make a settlement of some kind. The employee's seen in this video are the type that leave a lasting impression with the public about law enforcment. These are the type that we as a larger law enforcement family do not need in the family. We need the public to learn that they can trust us and we need to gain their respect. Without the public's respect,law enforcment can not operate as it should. I think that one day without pay again just show's that you either do not respect the people that elected you as sheriff, or that you just do not care about the larger law enforcement family. These three men need to be terminated, because we do not need them in the law enforcement field. This is not to even think about what would happen if the United States Department were to become involved in this matter over a possible civil rights violations. These three employee's would be looking at possibly going to jail. So sheriff, please stop and look at the case again, and show the public that you do care about how they are treated.

November 21, 2011 at 8:08 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

Excellent post Dennis...Thank you.

Sheriff Hammond...please review ALL problems in the department! This incident is just the "tip of the iceberg".

November 21, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
potcat said...

Following the rules is not the problem. The Police and the Gaurds at the Jail are known to have a low tolerence for people with elements of all kinds of promblems. the Police shoud be able to handle such situations without the person getting a beat down.

This is nothing new at the Hamilton CO. Jail. I know first hand the Criminal violent attack that can be brought upon you just for the hell of it. I want get in the details, but it was revolting, wrong and criminal, you have no recourse, who you go to tell.

They are a of people who know this, including Lawyers and Judges and of course the People who its been done to and their families and friends, people know!!!

November 21, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
WHS1970 said...

What else can you expect from a couple of "meatheads"?

November 21, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
PinkSalmon said...

No amount of training or policies in place would have been a deterrent to these savages in uniform. If they hadn't become guards they would be inmates anyway. They should be fired and fired immediately, then prosecuted under violations of civil rights code! Their records should follow them where ever they go so they will never be allowed to hold such a position ever again.

excerpt: "Corrections officer charged with murder at Ventress Prison “Neither the DOC nor this office tolerates the use of excessive force in controlling inmates, and when officers cross the line, they will face the serious consequences of their acts,” Strange said in a statement.

_Smith is charged in the death of 24-year-old Rocrast Donnell Mack. The indictment charges that Smith intentionally beat Mack to death.

Some jails and prisons across the nation have begun take matters more seriously when their officers behave like criminals.

A very dear friend of mind was verbally assaulted because she asked for help in using the phone while awaiting to be processed. She'd never been arrested before and wasn't familiar with jail protocol or even how to use the phone. She should have never been arrested in the first place, as the arresting officer made up a charge to justify the arrest. They didn't physically assault her, but they did everything they could in an attempt to shame, embarass her and humiliate her. She wasn't even allowed a pair of flip flops like the ones given to other inmates, and had to walk around on the dirty floor all evening and well into the night barefoot. The second shift guards @ the Hamilton County Jail are usually the meanest and most lazy. Only when another shift of guards came was my friend treated humanely.

November 21, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.
sage1 said...

There are those that simply cannot handle authority over others. Their flawed, abusive character always comes through. Authority puffs them up, making them feel better than others and privileged.

These two should be fired immediately, but I doubt this will happen in "Good 'ol Boy" land.

November 21, 2011 at 11:55 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

The Chattanooga Police Dept and the Sheriff's Office are made up mostly of Neanderthals who do things like this on a regular basis. My one experience with them, which has now been expunged from my record since they did not have a case to start with, was very similar to Mr. Minney's. I was thrown into the drunk tank with 20 or 30 intoxicated thugs instead of being put in a holding cell. I was denied over half of my medications for my diabetes and high blood pressure. I went for over 12 1/2 hours without my insulin which anyone who has had any experience with diabetes knows is dangerous. I was pushed around by every officer I came into contact with, and generally mistreated in many ways. These people have no respect whatsoever for the people they have been hired to protect and they should all be fired and new officers who have had special training in how to treat people with respect and compassion hired to replace them. Hunter S. Thompson said it better than anyone when he said: "We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws."

November 21, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.
skyboxer said...

"Unprofessional" doesn't even begin to describe these officer's actions. What we see in this video is a pair of thugs in blue using a handcuffed, slightly built middle aged man as their personal punching bag. Finding jailers to process prisoner intake is tough .. think about the "clientele" these guys have to deal with day in and day out ... but at the same time this sort of shocking and completely uncalled for abuse simply cannot be tolerated.

November 21, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
renemorton said...

I am not sure what these officers were suppose to have done wrong but I didn't see anything bad happen. He was resisting. All they did was hold him against the wall for their own safety. People don't understand these officers have to protect themselves and if it means to hold someone against the wall or on the ground, there is nothing wrong with that. Now if they were kicking him over and over or punching him I could understand, but that didn't happen. This has been blown way out of porportion.

November 21, 2011 at 12:58 p.m.
GETREAL159 said...

Are you kidding me???? These officers are only doing their job. @ Easyeintn you need to watch the video again b/c the man is NOT handcuffed. If he is that sure is amazing that he has one hand on the wall and one behind his back. It is clear what is happening in the video. The officers are searching Mr. Minney once more and then they are telling him to get on the ground while they exit the cell. Mr. Minney decides he does not want to and he is then forced to the ground. Should this have taken two officers? No, I would not think, but I would think that it is protocol to have two officers when escorting someone to a cell. @ WHS1970 "meatheads" you only make me laugh. I am not really sure if I was watching the same video as some of you but COME ON this man was not "Beat Down". Some of you have said the officers have no respect for these people that they are hired to protect, well I will share a little secret with you IN ORDER TO GET RESPECT YOU MUST GIVE IT. I hope everyone that has commented on this post about their sad jail experiences remembers that next time they step through those steel doors. As for Standifer, Harden, and Pell I am sorry you guys had to endure all the lies and stretched stories brought on by a certain unreliable reporter.

November 21, 2011 at 1:26 p.m.
PinkSalmon said...

dennis said... Sheriff Hammond, As a former police office from a city having served 30 years, I find the video of the arrest of the reported homeless man disturbing. I know that suspects can become hard to handle, cussing and threating officers during arrest, but this is still no reason to handle an inmate in the manner that this man appeared to be handled. I think that you will agree that the video doesn't lie. Law enforcement depends on it each and every day. The manner in which this man was seen to be treated by your employee's shows me that either your department is under trained or has no respect for the people that they are hired to serve

First I want to say thanks! Coming from someone who obviously knows and who actually cares both for the citizen and the profession. I'd also like to say, the last sentence I think sums it all up. They really don't care for the people that they are hire to serve and protect. For most, it's all about them. Their egos and the fact that many do what they do because, as one officer once arrogantly put it, WE CAN!

But thanks for the advancements in technology for video. At first most departments and officers wanted them. Now, they're not so sure that was a good idea after all. As more and more cops, jail and prison guards are getting caught on camera doing what citizens have been complaining about for decades.

November 21, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
Justreading said...

So it takes two officers, a wrist lock and slamming the 55 year old man's head into the wall to get him to stay in the cell? What a load of crap, these two should be charged with assault. Fact of the matter is, most of these cops get a badge and then they think they are God. I hope this old guys sues them in civil court and takes every red cent they have.

November 21, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
pNc said...

@renemorton, you must be viewing a totally different video footage than anyone else. Even members of the sheriff's dept.

Not mentioned in this article, but here's what some from the inside stated:

Stephen Minney was arrested by East Ridge police after he was found walking near Parkridge Medical Center, intoxicated and acting unruly on Sept. 18, according to the arrest report.

No one checked on Minney in the holding cell until the following day when they noticed dried blood from the laceration.

When a new shift officer came on duty and asked what happened, Minney said, “You ought to know, you and your officers beat my [butt].”

Minney was given medical treatment at the jail for the wound. When Minney was booked, the corrections officers described him as verbally abusive and uncooperative, according to the report.

In the booking area, the officers both grabbed each of Minney’s arms and took him to the intake countertop, and then to a holding cell.

During interviews with investigators, Harden said he forgot what happened. After viewing the video, he said Minney “got slammed around a lot,” by Standifer.

Harden and Standifer said they were both unaware of any protocol relating to unruly inmates. Harden said the actions taken with Minney were consistent with how they normally deal with inmates. Standifer said during his training it was stressed that, “The No. 1 thing is officer safety.”

A training officer viewed the video footage and stated that if an inmate is intoxicated to the point of falling down, they must be checked by medical staff. Corrections Officer Terry Jeffries, who is assigned to the training division, said Minney was not physically combative. He described the actions taken against Minney as excessive, which included being shoved against the wall and then thrown to the floor. Standifer also placed his knee in Standifer’s back.

“The actions of Officer Standifer were just uncalled for, 100 percent,” Jeffries told investigators.

Mouthing off, even at a member of LE whose ego is easily bruised, apparently, is no justification for excessive use of force. PERIOD!

November 21, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
sweetdream20 said...

renemorton "All they did was hold him against the wall for their own safety"

You should watch the video to the end.... They thunked him into the wall, dropped him to the ground, and parted ways with a knee to his back.

November 21, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.
whatsnottaken said...

If you do something to get arrested, you should be treated however they won't to treat you. Don't want to be roughed up, don't do anything to get arrested. Simple. Consider how he was treated payback for unvideoed crap he probably said and did to the cops without the all-peering "watchdog" eyes.

November 21, 2011 at 10:33 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

whatsnottaken said... If you do something to get arrested, you should be treated however they won't to treat you. Don't want to be roughed up, don't do anything to get arrested. Simple. Consider how he was treated payback for unvideoed crap he probably said and did to the cops without the all-peering "watchdog" eyes.

Now, what you just said makes a lot of sense. NOT! You sound about as idiotic as the jailers look who roughed up this guy. Why you so supportive of incompetence and abuse? One of the jailers your boyfriend or something? Hmmm, or maybe you're one of the jailers who roughed up the guy?

What about this? Since law enoforcement asked for cameras and videos in the first place, you'd think they'd have sense enough to not forget they're on camera at all times. Just shows these guys aren't very bright to begin with.

November 21, 2011 at 11:55 p.m.
dlady said...

Wow! Such disregaurd for the sacrifice that these men and women give everyday to protect the public, never asking for anything in return, except for your respect. So, if you find it so difficult to give that to them, then next time that you find yourself in the need of their help think about how ungreatful you once were for their service.

November 22, 2011 at 12:20 a.m.
brokentoe said...

dlady said... Wow! Such disregaurd for the sacrifice that these men and women give everyday to protect the public

Yeah! Right, sacrifice? Like the Collegdale cop caught doing the nasty in an SUV with his patrol car parked close by. Yep!! He was out there sacrificing a lot and keeping uZ citizens save!! LMAO!

November 22, 2011 at 2:28 p.m.
dao1980 said...

whatsnottaken, I would bet that at least one thing you do during the day is technically "illegal" based on the rampant and over bearing laws that blanket the landscape.

What about the coppers themselves. Does your philosophy apply to those who are charged to uphold this multitude of laws? OR are they not subject to your, "if ya don't wanna be in trouble, don't do nuthin bad" philosophy.

After all, that's a tough philosophy to stay in good standing with, when abusers of authority are the ones enacting and enforcing said laws.

dlady: Let me tell you that I can think of at least two individuals from high school who's reputations as being honest and caring men must be tarnished by the uniform and badge. It makes me sad to imagine that they are mistreated daily by the people that they truly serve.

I also can think of no less than four individuals who were (in high school) the most dishonest, lying, stealing, drug abusing, drunk driving, bull headed idiots I have ever known. These folks are now coppers as well.

Let me ask you, is it not true that a few bad apples can spoil the bunch? Let me also propose that, a few good apples surely cannot save the bunch...

November 22, 2011 at 2:56 p.m.
01centare said...

dlady said... next time that you find yourself in the need of their help think about how ungreatful you once were for their service.

They should be thanking us. After all, we pay them via out tax dollars to beat the crap out of us, ticket us and jail us. Then beat the crap out of us some more. Most days they sit around doing nothing anyway.

dao said... I also can think of no less than four individuals who were (in high school) the most dishonest, lying, stealing, drug abusing, drunk driving, bull headed idiots I have ever known. These folks are now coppers as well

I know a few of those too. One had a bad as*s reputation in school for getting a kick out of beating up on students. Now's a cop who gets a kick out of beating up on citizens and getting away with it.

November 22, 2011 at 9:20 p.m.
01centare said...

@I also can think of no less than four individuals who were (in high school) the most dishonest, lying, stealing, drug abusing, drunk driving, bull headed idiots I have ever known. These folks are now coppers as well

And are likely still doing the same thing: Dishonest, lying, stealing, drug abusers{drug abuse is no stranger within the ranks}, drunks {alcoholism is rampant in LE}, bull headed idiots.

November 22, 2011 at 9:29 p.m.
EagleEye69 said...

I am just still looking for the excessive force, I for one don't see it. Just saying.

November 23, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
retired said...

The Comment from pNc "A training officer viewed the video footage and stated that if an inmate is intoxicated to the point of falling down, they must be checked by medical staff. Corrections Officer Terry Jeffries, who is assigned to the training division, said Minney was not physically combative." I was told that the Training Officer has no clue about traning and he was one of Sergeant Pell's Beaters in the past. Did no one see Jailor "Standifer" slam Mr. Minney's head into the wall? Now we see this Sergeant that was put on (NOTICE) by the sheriff in a fight again. I was told that John was using the Masson card again. But the thing is now i was told they put 4 more Jailors on Suspention for possible Drug issues and these Jaliors I was told they are from Second shift as the Sergeant and other Jailors in the news. I guess Ron came in an is going to let this go on. Sorry Jailors maybe things will get fixed one day after they fire a few. Let see what 2012 has for us.

December 28, 2011 at 8:34 a.m.
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