HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - WAFF has new details on a bizarre incident that happened inside the Morgan County jail, leading to a corrections officer now out of job.
According to Sheriff’s Office officials, the corrections officer may have applied an irritant to a pack of cigarettes that inmates smoked, causing them to end up in the hospital.
Public Information Officer Mike Swafford described what led up to the corrections officer being fired.
“Individuals went out for a smoke break, but all of a sudden they couldn’t breath," Swafford said. "They hit the ground having breathing issues, but the team that was working at the time was not involved in the incident, and they just knew they had something going on.”
Swafford said when they heard about the situation, they started investigating. Through their investigation they learned a corrections officer may have put an irritant on a pack of cigarettes that belonged to one of the inmates.
“Unfortunately, anytime humans are involved things can happen and that’s what happened here," he said. "Now people should be watching how we handle it, and we will handle it correctly.”
The inmate who had the cigarettes shared with others, according to Swafford, leaving four inmates affected. Three of them were sent to the hospital for respiratory issues.
That corrections officer is now fired. Swafford said when word got out to fellow corrections officers about what may have happened, they were livid.
“Their main reaction was they were appalled and wondered how someone in their position can do this," Swafford said. "That makes us feel proud of our team downstairs that they know this is wrong. This is not what we are here for, and our standard of excellence is higher than allowing something like this to take place.”
The identity of the corrections officer is not released at this time.
When asked if the corrections officer may have acted alone, Swafford said they will have more details on this as the investigation continues. More charges could be pending as the invetigation continues.
Swafford also said his team works to always be transparent, and they will continue to update the public.