A former corrections officer with the Pike County Detention Center was indicted by a Pike County grand jury on Wednesday, linked to the alleged assault of an inmate on July 5, while the officer was still employed at the jai.
According to Pike County Jailer Brian Morris, Michael Holland, who was serving as an officer at the jail when the assault occurred July 5 was indicted on a charge of second-degree assault, linked to the alleged assault of Shannon Hay, a Haysi, Virginia, man who had been arrested on a DUI charge that morning.
Morris said the investigation into the incident revealed that Holland had assaulted Hay during the process of Hay being booked into the jail.
“(Officers) were booking in a DUI suspect, at which time a verbal altercation occurred,” Morris said. “While (Hay) was being escorted to isolation, it escalated to a physical altercation.”
Pikeville Police Chief Chris Edmonds, whose agency was immediately called in by Morris to investigate once the assault was discovered, said the department’s investigation found that, while several hours elapsed between when Hay was assaulted and when he was taken to Pikeville Medical Center for treatment, that was because Hay had refused treatment.
After a shift change, Edmonds said, Hay agreed to be transported to PMC.
Morris said that, after he discovered the assault had occurred, he immediately began investigating and reviewing records as well as video and audio recordings from the jail.
“I determined excessive force had been used,” Morris said, at which time he contacted the Pikeville Police Department to investigate the case.
The charge against Holland, second-degree assault, is a class C felony which carries a prison sentence of between five and 10 years if Holland is found guilty.
Morris said Holland was suspended without pay on July 6 and Holland’s employment with the jail was terminated “immediately and permanently” upon the issuance of the indictment.
Edmonds said Hay suffered a nasal fracture and injuries to the head and face, including a laceration on his face.
Hay, Edmonds said, was treated at Pikeville Medical Center and released the same day as the alleged assault, and drove on Tuesday to meet both Edmonds and investigators to discuss the incident.
Morris said he has already begun the process of training all jail personnel on de-escalation and the jail’s policies and procedures, but he remains confident that the PCDC’s personnel are among the best in the state and capable of doing the job without an incident such as the one alleged to have occurred on July 5.
“I’m confident my staff knows the proper way to deal with inmates,” he said. “And I’m confident my staff knows I have zero tolerance for excessive force. I stand by my staff.”