- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (AP) - A corrections officer in eastern Tennessee has been fired and his actions will be examined by a grand jury after an investigation into an alleged assault on a prisoner.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said an investigation showed that Chancelor Presnell violated general orders for unbecoming conduct, misconduct with inmates, excessive force resulting in injury, not reporting the use of force and departure from his work zone without authorization. Mathes fired Presnell on Friday after nine months in the job.

Mathes told the Johnson City Press (http://bit.ly/VsOzlO) a criminal investigation was being conducted and criminal charges against Presnell would probably be presented during the September session of the Carter County grand jury.

Mathes said the case has to go to the grand jury rather than simply going to Sessions Court because of the official misconduct charge.

“The district attorney’s office tells me that can only go through the grand jury,” Mathes said.

The sheriff’s department said the assault allegedly came after an unnamed inmate made sexual and inappropriate remarks to a female correctional officer, which was subsequently followed by Presnell retaliating on the inmate.

“Sometimes even the best officers can have poor judgment, but never can these types of actions be tolerated,” Mathes said. “Proper disciplinary procedures are in place but were clearly not followed in this case by employees.”

Mathes said the investigation was continuing.

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Information from: Johnson City Press, http://www.johnsoncitypress.com

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