Two Durham County detention officers charged in alleged assault on detainee

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two Durham County Detention Center officers have been charged, and subsequently fired, following an investigation into an alleged assault on a detainee.

The investigation came after a detention officer filed a use of force report on Sept. 23.

As per policy, the officer's supervisor reviewed the report, including surveillance video of the incident in question.

According to the sheriff's office, the detainee did not report the incident and, when approached by a staff member afterward, reported not being injured.

Following the internal review, the supervisor believed there was possible evidence of use of excessive force and forwarded the case up the chain of command.

The criminal investigation has since concluded and led to charges against two detention officers.

Joseph Harris, 25, was charged with misdemeanor assault. Harris had been employed by the sheriff's office as a detention officer since May of this year.

Austin Taylor, 26, was charged with accessory to assault. He was hired by the sheriff's office in July 2016.

As a result of the internal investigation, both detention officers were terminated Friday.

While the investigations were ongoing, the men were placed on leave with pay.

This does not reflect the work efforts of the men and women of the Durham County Sheriff's Office," Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement. "Incidents such as these will not be tolerated and will be addressed through the courts. It is unfortunate that we had to take this action against two of our own today."
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