Sheriff: 3 Harris County jailers suspended after hitting restrained inmate

Inmate was restrained after assaulting detention officer, sheriff says

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor , Syan Rhodes - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Three Harris County detention officers were suspended Wednesday after video showed them striking a restrained inmate, who had just assaulted an officer, Sheriff Ron Hickman said.

"There's a group of people under a camera so you see a bunch of bodies moving around, we feel like there was punching involved that was not necessary. There's a point where you can see there's enough to restrain the individual and when you go beyond that that's not what we're here for," Hickman said.

VIDEO: Harris County deputy talks about assault on inmate and detention officer

According to Hickman, the inmate 28-year-old Jerome Bartee assaulted the detention officer Monday at the medical facility of the Harris County jail.
At least six officers responded and forced the inmate into submission.

"There's a point where you can see there's enough to restrain the individual and when you go beyond that that's not what we're here for," Hickman said.

Hickman said that after the inmate was restrained, three of the officers hit the prisoner. A supervisor arrived and stopped them.

The three officers were suspended with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation, Hickman said.

Bartee had been at the jail since Saturday after being arrested on drugs and weapons charges.

The Harris County District Attorney's office is also reviewing the case to decide if it will be sent to a grand jury.

Stay with KPRC2 and Click2Houston.com for the latest on this developing story.

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