Three correction officers at the Lawrence County, Ohio Jail were arrested in connection to the mistreatment of a prisoner.
According to a news release issued by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, 25-year-old Ronald S. Hatfield, 36-year-old Jeremy S. Hanshaw, and 22-year-old Jason Mays were all arrested Thursday, August 28. Hatfield and Hanshaw were charged with felonious assault, while Mays was charged with tampering with evidence.
The news release says that on August 19, a jail employee informed Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless of possible misconduct of other jail employees which occurred on August 16.
An investigation was ordered, in which detectives told Sheriff Lawless that possibly up to three correctional officers, Hatfield, Hanshaw, and Mays were involved in the inappropriate treatment of a prisoner, who according to the news release had just been arrested and was entering the jail to be booked on the charge of disorderly conduct.
Detectives continued their investigation, in which Sheriff Lawless put the three officers on notice, telling them they were the focus of an internal investigation.
The prisoner was released shortly after being booked, after which detectives located him a few days later, on August 22, to get his information on what was reported to have happened to him.
However, on August 21, detectives gave Sheriff Lawless a statement from an eyewitness concerning this incident, as well as other evidence that led Lawless to believe a crime had been committed.
The news release goes on to say that on this same day, one of the officers' employment was terminated, while the other two were put on Paid Administrative Leave.
According to Sheriff Lawless, "I was provided with what I believe is evidence of wrong doing, I acted quickly, firing one employee and suspending two others, this even before the possible victim could be found. I took an oath to uphold the law and protect all citizens. I am not sure this man would have ever returned to complain and I could have sat on it and possibly saved a 'black eye' on the agency but the person I am would not allow me to do that."
Arrest warrants were issued on Thursday, August 28, for Hatfield, Hanshaw, and Mays, all of whom were arrested and arraigned at the Ironton Municipal Court.
The news release says that both Hatfield and Hanshaw were hired as correction officers in June of 2013, while Mays was hired in June of 2014.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be filed.