Thursday, December 2, 2010
Accused Detention Officer Resigns from Job
PHOENIX - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that detention officer Kevin Gerster resigned on Wednesday following his arrest earlier in the week on aggravated assault charges.
A jail surveillance video shows the former Arizona detention officer stepping on the neck of an inmate who was restrained and bent over a table.
The video shows the inmate, William Hughes, handcuffed behind his back, bent over a table, and surrounded by three officers. Gerster walks up to the men, gets on the table and steps on Hughes' neck.
The video of the assault also shows the officer later punching Hughes in the back of the head four times and kicking him in the leg once. Investigators also said they believe he slammed Hughes' head up against a wall in his jail cell, although there is no video evidence of that.
Sheridan said Hughes did not require medical treatment and didn't have any apparent neck injuries, although he had some bruising and a cut on his forehead, which investigators believe happened in his jail cell.
Gerster posted a $36,000 secured appearance bond Tuesday after he was booked into jail on aggravated assault charges stemming from Hughes' assault and from a June incident, which was uncovered during the recent investigation.
In a June video also released to the media, Gerster is shown punching inmate Michael Flores in the jaw.
Gerster also faces charges of accessing criminal history and one count of computer tampering. The sheriff's office said Gerster looked up the address of an ex-inmate for his friend, whose ex-wife was dating the inmate and who allegedly assaulted the two with a box cutter after getting the address from Gerster.
Another officer, Alan Keesee, who is shown in the November video slamming Hughes' head against the table, was not arrested, but the sheriff's office recommended he also be charged with aggravated assault.
Sheridan said the sheriff's office decided to release the video to the public because he and Sheriff Joe Arpaio "took it very seriously."
"We were upset with the actions of both these officers and we quickly initiated a criminal investigation," he said.