Ex-jailer indicted on charge of assaulting inmate

Published 7:54 am Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chancelor Presnell

Chancelor Presnell

A former Carter County corrections officer is facing charges alleging he assaulted an inmate while employed at the Carter County Detention Center.
Chancelor Sha Patrick Presnell, 22, 687 Hampton Creek Road, Roan Mountain, was arrested Friday by Carter County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Amanda Little on an indictment charging him with official misconduct and assault (bodily injury). Under state law, official misconduct is a Class E felony. The assault charge against Presnell is a Class A misdemeanor.
The charges against Presnell stem from an incident that occurred at the Carter County Detention Center on Aug. 10 when an inmate reported Presnell had assaulted him.
After the report by the inmate, Presnell was suspended without pay from his duties while an internal investigation was conducted. On Aug. 15, a press release issued by the department said Presnell had been terminated from employment as a result of the internal investigation and criminal charges were being pursued in relation to the incident.
According to that release, the allegations involve a male inmate “who made sexual and inappropriate remarks to a female corrections officer” and the subsequent retaliatory assault on that inmate by Presnell. A report on the incident by CCSD Sgt. Travis Ludlow also said the inmate reported the female corrections officer initiated the sexually based conversation and he responded.
Ludlow said in his report the inmate said after the conversation with the female inmate, Presnell came to his cell and asked who had made the comments to the female officer.
“He said that (Presnell) left his cell, and returned angry, where (the inmate) met him at the door and admitted to making the statement,” Ludlow said. “Presnell then punched him in the face and began assaulting him.” Ludlow said the inmate sustained a black eye but had no other visible injuries.
As part of the investigation into the incident, Ludlow said he also viewed security camera footage for that area of the jail.
Ludlow said security camera footage showed Presnell enter C Block, which was not his assigned work post for the day, and go from cell to cell within the block speaking to inmates before entering the cell which housed the inmate who filed the report. Ludlow said at one point in the video the cell door was opened by another corrections officer and “Presnell can be seen standing over the inmate, who is on the ground.”
During the investigation, Ludlow said Presnell was also interviewed. Presnell told investigators the female corrections officer, who he identified as his girlfriend, reported the comment made by the inmate to him and he went to find out who had made the statement.
“He said that he confronted (the inmate), who denied making the statement,” Ludlow said. “He told the inmate if he was man enough to say something like that to his girlfriend, he should be man enough to say something to him.”
Ludlow said Presnell reported the inmate “got up in his face” and pushed him so he pushed the inmate in return, at which time the inmate grabbed Presnell’s shirt collar and Presnell struck the inmate. According to Ludlow, Presnell then began providing a written statement to investigators detailing his description of the incident.
“While writing the statement I told Presnell to consider what he was writing, because the evidence seemed to indicate that things did not happen as he described them,” Ludlow said. “At this point Presnell refused to finish his written statement.”
Following his arrest on Friday, Presnell was booked into the Carter County Detention Center but was released on a $3,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court on Dec. 1.

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