Sheriff: Two fired, others disciplined after investigation into - | WBTV Charlotte

Sheriff: Two fired, others disciplined after investigation into inmate suicide


Two employees have been fired and several others have been disciplined after the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation into an inmate's suicide from last week.

According to the Sheriff's Office, officials from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are still conducting an investigation into the dead of 44-year-old Randy W Stevens inside the Lancaster Detention Center. 

The Sheriff's Office began its own investigation which unveiled several violations that were "serious in nature."

According to Sheriff Barry Faile, officers were called last Monday night to the report of a possibly suicidal person along Memorial Park Road.

When officers arrived they found Stevens walking along the road with a friend while "grossly intoxicated."

Stevens asked to go to the hospital because he was drunk.

Officers asked him "multiple times if he was having suicidal thoughts," the Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday, and says he denied that he was each time.

Stevens was checked out by medical personnel and was then arrested and charged with public intoxication. Deputies say Stevens then pretended to pass out and was rechecked by EMS who said he was fine.

According to deputies, Stevens became angry and combative and kicked one of the deputies during the struggle to put him in the vehicle.

Stevens then complained of chest pain during the ride to jail. Medical officials were called out again and he was transported to Springs Memorial Hospital to be checked out.

That's when deputies say Stevens threatened to do physical harm to the deputies when he was released, threatened to file a law suit and threatened to complain to the Sheriff about the incident.

While at the hospital, Stevens was again questioned by hospital staff regarding suicidal thoughts.  Stevens again denied having suicidal thoughts.

He then refused all treatment and was transported to the Detention Center where he was jailed. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, Stevens was so uncooperative and belligerent that staff members were unable to complete the booking process.

He was put into a private cell, which officials say is standard procedure for intoxicated people.

Correctional Officers continued to speak with Stevens several times over the next hour in attempt to get him calm. They were eventually successful in calming him after getting a bag lunch from the kitchen. 

After eating his meal, Stevens told jail employees that he was going to sleep. A short time later, Stevens used his bed sheet to hang himself from the vent in his cell, according to officials. 

Stevens' body was found just before 4 a.m. hanging in his cell.

"During our internal investigation it was determined that Stevens' decision to take his own life could not have been prevented given the situation and information available at the time," Sheriff Barry Faile said. "Proper procedure would not have prevented Stevens' suicide. It is always sad when someone chooses to take their own life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stevens' family."

Faile says that during the Sheriff's Office internal investigation, officials found "several policy violations" related to the amount of time between the routine jail checks.

"Although unrelated to Stevens' death these violations were serious in nature," Faile said. "That neglect of duty is unacceptable under our standards of conduct."

Faile says "appropriate disciplinary action" was taken against several employees that ranges from counseling to suspension. Two employees were fired.

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