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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Carter Co. jailer fired, inmate assault case to go to grand jury

August 15th, 2014 4:11 pm by John Thompson

Carter Co. jailer fired, inmate assault case to go to grand jury

Sheriff Chris Mathes (file photo)

ELIZABETHTON — A corrections officer at the Carter County Detention Center has been fired and his case will be examined by a grand jury following an investigation into an alleged assault on a prisoner that reportedly happened on Aug. 10.

Sheriff Chris Mathes said Chancelor Presnell was dismissed from employment on Friday, following an investigation into the alleged assault. Mathes said the investigation revealed Presnell had 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 said Presnell had worked as a corrections officer in the detention center for approximately nine months.

Mathes said 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.

In a press release issued after Presnell's dismissal, 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," Mathes said, "but never can these types of actions be tolerated. 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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