DRAPER (ABC4 Utah News) -Former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen and four of his former deputies are facing charges related to abuse of inmates at the Daggett County Jail.
Back in February the Utah Department of Corrections suddenly moved 80 inmates from the Daggett County Jail to the Utah State Prison in Draper. The DOC contracts with 20 county facilities around the state to house inmates at a cost of $52 per inmate per day.
The charges accuse former Daggett County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Cox of using a TASER on five inmates who were “promised a case of soda if they could endure the tasing for five seconds”.
Another charge of Aggravated Assault claims Deputy Cox gave a TASER to an inmate for the purpose of threatening another.
In all, Deputy Cox faces 9 felonies and 2 misdemeanors while former Deputy Ben Lail is charged with one count of Aggravated Assault for threatening a female inmate with a TASER, two other deputies are charged with official misconduct for not reporting the tasings and former Sheriff Jorgensen is charged with Failure to Safely Keep Inmates, Obstruction of Justice and Official Misconduct.
Molly Prince, the Founder of the Utah Prisoner Advocate Network, gave ABC4 Utah News her reaction.
“I was amazed and then I was disgusted and I’m angry now,” Prince said. “These acts sound very sadistic not only by the deputies that perpetrated them but by the other officers that didn’t do anything to stop it.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes stated, “The alleged actions of at least one defendant constitute unbelievably inhumane conduct and a reprehensible miscarriage of justice and the actions of all the defendants are inexcusable.”
“It’s not a common thing for staff or officers to be using TASERs against inmates or to be bringing dogs in to bite inmates,” Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook said. “We’re not going to allow unprofessional and criminal people to work around our staff and our inmates.”
The acting head of the Daggett County sheriff’s Department Jack Lytle released a statement Friday saying the department is focused on looking forward while learning from the past.