Investigators have determined a jail officer was asleep when a man hanged himself in the Lancaster County Detention Center earlier this year.
The Herald of Rock Hill reported that an internal investigation at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office determined senior correctional officer Channell Thompson falsified jail records to show she had performed routine checks on inmates. Thompson and her supervisor Cpl. Gwendolyn Watson were fired as part of the investigation of the death of 44-year-old Randy William Stevens on May 20.
Stevens had been arrested on a disorderly conduct charge only hours before he was found hanging with a bed sheet around his neck.
The jail’s policies required officers to check on intoxicated inmates like Stevens every 15 minutes, according to the Herald’s report. But the investigation found Thompson slept for two hours with headphones on her ears during her duty shift. The report said the violations did not contribute to Stevens’ death.
Her supervisor Watson was also fired shortly after the suicide. The paper reports that the investigation claimed Watson ignored the employee’s sleeping on the job, left work for an hour without permission, and failed to make sure officers were checking on inmates.