ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Metropolitan Detention Center has placed seven corrections officers, including four supervisors, on paid leave after jail guards were recorded on surveillance camera using force against a female inmate on Monday, according to a jail spokeswoman.
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has launched a criminal investigation at the jail into whether it was an appropriate use of force, said BCSO Capt. Andi Taylor. She didn’t describe what type of force was used on the woman, who wasn’t identified, because numerous jail employees and witnesses still have to be interviewed.
Footage of the incident also wasn’t released Wednesday. The Journal has requested it from the jail.
Taylor said deputies who work for the sheriff’s office’s Special Investigations Unit, which bases some investigators at the jail, will work with prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges should be filed in the case.
“We take these allegations seriously,” Taylor said.
Taylor said MDC staff reported the case to the sheriff’s office Tuesday, a day after it happened.
She said the female inmate had been incarcerated before the incident. She didn’t say where in the jail the incident took place, citing the ongoing investigation.
“Anytime an issue like this arises we’re going to look at the force that was used and whether or not is was appropriate,” BCSO Capt. Justin Dunlap said.
Nataura Powdrell, a spokeswoman for the jail, said three corrections officers and four jail supervisors are on leave. While the sheriff’s office works a criminal investigation, she said the jail will review the case to see if policies were broken.
The investigation comes as the county tries to improve conditions in the jail to address a 20-year lawsuit still pending in federal court. The county and other criminal-justice agencies have worked together in recent years to reduce the inmate population, raising hope that the suit can be settled.
The Metropolitan Detention Center is one of the 40 largest jails in the country.
Journal Staff Writer Dan McKay contributed to this report