DELAWARE COUNTY — Charges have been filed against a former correctional officer at the Delaware County Jail accused of striking an inmate when he fired a PepperBall launcher into a cell block.
Matthew J. Lloyd of Muncie is accused of discharging the launcher with an "inert powder" from the jail's control room, Delaware County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jeff Stanley previously told WRTV.
An investigation by Indiana State Police found Lloyd was not certified to use the launcher, which is a violation of the jail's policy, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Two inmates told the ISP investigator they were injured during the March 31 incident. A security video showed Lloyd walking to the control area of the pods about 11 p.m. when he saw inmates not going to their assigned cells. He then walked into a hallway adjacent to the control room to retrieve the launcher, according to the affidavit.
"After retrieving the pepper ball gun he proceeds to walk over to the gun port of Pod A and fires two rounds into the Pod. CO Lloyd then walks over to the gun port of Pod B and also fires two and possibly three rounds into Pod B," the affidavit alleges.
One inmate suffered a cut on his forehead and the other was struck in the upper back by a projectile and suffered minor bruising. Neither requested medical attention but were both seen by medical staff the next day, according to a probable cause affidavit.
"In the security video, the rounds fired into the dayroom by CO Lloyd can be seen striking a table and chairs in the room and the next pepper ball round appears to strike (the inmate) in the upper back and can be clearly seen on the video," the affidavit alleges.
Fellow correctional officers told the investigator the inmates were slow to get to their cells and that a PepperBall launcher had been used before in such instances. They also said Lloyd yelled "lock down" 10 seconds before shooting and said he didn't actually intend to hit either inmate.
One told the investigator Lloyd had shown the launcher to inmates as a form of deterrence before but never used it inside the pods.
A supervisor told the investigator the launcher should not be used for that type of incident and that additional verbal commands should have been given and more correctional officers called to assist.
Lloyd was charged March 31 with one misdemeanor count each of battery resulting in bodily injury and criminal recklessness.
An initial hearing for Lloyd is scheduled for June 29 at Muncie City Court.
Stanley previously told WRTV, "The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office in no way condones unlawful or punitive uses of force by deputies or correctional staff."