A Hall County jail sergeant fired Tuesday following accusations he punched an inmate in the stomach is now under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.
The incident happened June 14 when an inmate at the Hall County Jail assaulted and injured two jailers, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. After the inmate was brought under control and handcuffed, Sgt. Kenny Lane punched him, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Sgt. Kenny Lane, who was not directly involved with the incident, struck the inmate in the abdomen,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deputy Nicole Bailes wrote in a news release. “The shift lieutenant observed the inmate being struck and immediately intervened.”
Lane, who has served with the sheriff’s office for 25 years, was placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation and then fired. The GBI is now conducting an independent investigation.
There were a string of cases alleging violent misconduct by deputies against inmates from 2012 incidents, although no allegations resulting in termination in the past year and a half.
The GBI levied criminal charges against former jailers Dustin Charlton and David Pirkle, who were also fired in connection with allegedly striking handcuffed inmates.
Pirkle pleaded guilty to one count of simple battery and was sentenced on Sept. 4 for his role in a Dec. 30, 2012, incident. He was indicted by a Hall County grand jury on two charges: simple battery and violation of oath of office by a public officer, a felony, which was dropped as part of the plea agreement.
He was sentenced to serve 12 months’ probation and also ordered to pay a $675 fine.
Charlton faces identical charges with similar alleged circumstances from a Sept. 8, 2012, incident at the jail. Charlton was charged in December 2012 with simple battery and violation of oath of office. The outcome of his case is still pending after indictment by a grand jury in the spring.
He has also been named in two lawsuits by inmates, one from a separate incident that was investigated but did not result in his termination.
The inmates are alleging civil rights violations, and both cases are pending in Gainesville’s federal civil court.
Finally, a third ex-jailer was fired after being investigated by the GBI in connection with allegedly sexually assaulting a female inmate on July 4, 2012.
Marcell Allen, 27, pleaded guilty last February to charges of giving a false statement and violation of oath of office. The charge of sexual assault against a person in custody against the former Hall County jailer was dropped in the plea. He was sentenced to five years of probation on each of the charges.
The sheriff’s office said it will not release additional information on the incident involving Lane, pending the outcome of the GBI investigation.