Nine deputies have been fired from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in the wake of an investigation into the death of 22 year old Mathew Ajibade at the jail on New Year’s Day. Ajibade was arrested while having a bipolar episode according to his family and taken to the jail rather than to a hospital. The Sheriff’s Office has previously said Ajibade became combative during booking. He was placed in a restraining chair and later found to have died. No information has been released on exactly what roles the fired deputies played in Ajibade’s death. The GBI conducted an external investigation which has been submitted to the Chatham County District Attorney. In the process of reviewing what News 3 is told is an extensive file, prosecutors have requested some additional investigation. The Sheriff’s Department has also been conducting and internal investigation into the case and the results of that apparently led to the firings.
This is a list of the nine deputies terminated today:
Cpl. Maxine Evans
Cpl. Jason Kenny
Pvt. Eric Vinson
Pvt. Abram Burns
Pvt. Christopher Reed
Pvt. Burt Ambrose
Pvt. Paul Folsome
Pvt. Frederick Burke
Pvt. Andrew Evans-Martinez
Greg Capers, Benjamin Webster and Lt. Debra Johnson are also no longer employed with the Sheriff Office. The Sheriff’s Office says Capers and Webster were terminated for policy violations not related to this incident and Lt. Johnson has retired.
The Sheriff’s Office has released the personnel files of the terminated deputies. The Internal Affairs and GBI reports into AJibade’s death will not be released until the District Attorney decides whether or not to take action. The release of the Internal Affairs materials has been requested by News 3. The Sheriff instructed the County Attorney to initiate legal proceedings last Monday in Chatham County Superior Court to determine if the Internal Affairs files are subject to release during the ongoing criminal investigation.
The Sheriff today also announced policy changes he has instituted as a result of the investigations. Those changes include:
· New booking procedures to ensure immediate notification to onsite medical personnel when a person with medication arrives for the booking process.
· New security procedures with the jail to audit the use of Taser devices and reconcile such use with standard documentation and current Use of Force policies.
· The Cell Extraction and Removal Team (CERT) will be reviewed and have a renewed focus of discipline and use of non-lethal force.
· A clear written policy of when Tasers may not be used.