HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) – A Harris County grand jury returned criminal indictments against two current and three former Harris County Sheriff’s Office detention officers for their roles in a jail use-of-force incident that happened more than one year ago. The indictment was returned Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Jail security video cameras documented the Sept. 4, 2016 use of force against inmate Jerome Bartee. That video is evidence in a pending criminal case and a civil lawsuit and therefore has not been publicly released.
Days after the incident, then-Sheriff Ron Hickman relieved three of the employees of duty after determining they used excessive force.
None of them ever returned to duty, and they have all since been fired.
Former Detention Officer Jeremy Ringle was terminated in February following an unrelated use-of-force investigation related to a July 2016 incident. Detention Officers Salvador Garibay Jr. and Andrew Rowell were terminated this September
Two current detention officers who were indicted on Tuesday will now be relieved of duty in accordance with Sheriff’s Office policy. They are Detention Officers Joshua Degler and Napoleon Harmon.
“I agree with former Sheriff Hickman’s determination that the use of force in this 2016 case was uncalled for, and that this incident represents a failure to uphold our duty to the people of Harris County,” said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. “These actions are not representative of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the values that we strive to uphold. Our administration will continue with ongoing efforts to emphasize de-escalation techniques and other training for all personnel that aims to minimize the need for physical force to maintain order in the jail.”
Indicted on first-degree felony charges of aggravated assault by a public servant are current detention officers Joshua Degler and Napoleon Harmon, and former detention officers Jeremy Ringle and Andrew Rowell.
Former Detention Officer Salvador Garibay Jr. was indicted on a Class A misdemeanor charge of assault.