After months of open records requests, News 3 obtained the Chatham County Detention Center’s Watch Commander’s Log from the night Matthew Ajibade died in custody.
We’ve reported the details of the log, which describe a violent encounter between Ajibade, three deputies and a taser.
But serious questions remain:
- what was and was not entered into the log about his death
- the sequence of events as they are entered
- the policies governing the use of the log in the jail.
A source in the sheriff’s office familiar with the log spoke to news anonymously.
First, the source believes things are missing from the log, saying it should have included the details of where and when Ajibade was discovered unresponsive.
More concerning — the log appears to contain revisions: at least ten other entries reference Ajibade’s death in the log before a description of the fight appears, including the arrival and departure of the GBI and a facility check conducted by the chief deputy fourteen hours after Ajibade’s presumed death.
The fight was first logged 23 minutes after it happened. But because it appears in the log below an incident logged more than 21 hours later — we know it was revised at least once in that same time period — at least 21 hours after it was first entered.
We do not, however, know what revisions were made, and whether they were for spelling, grammar or to make substantive changes to the description of what happened.
To help understand policy and procedure about how logs are maintained, we filed another open records request for all jail polices on log maintenance, training guides — even computer software.
Ten days later we received a response from Chatham Assistant County Attorney Jennifer Burns: an undated photocopy of jail post orders, which in one item instructs watch commanders to, quote:
“Maintain the watch commander’s log book (i.e. incidents, staff call-ins, etc.).”
Beyond that, Burns writes to News 3:
“There are no other documents, training manuals or standard operating procedures related to the watch commander’s log that are responsive to your request.”