| Courts |

Three Harris County Jailers Suspended After Punching Inmate

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Three Harris County Jail detention officers have been suspended following an altercation with an inmate, the Harris County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

The jailers were attempting to subdue 28-year-old inmate Jerome Bartee on September 4 at the jail's medical clinic but may have used excessive force, said Ryan Sullivan, a sheriff's department spokesman.

Sullivan told the Houston Press that footage from a new, $5 million video surveillance system provided crucial evidence to investigators. Sullivan said Sheriff Ron Hickman concluded the jailers were correct in trying to subdue Bartee, after he roughed up a jail employee, but their use of tactics such as punching "ha[s] raised questions as to whether that use for force was appropriate."

Harris County court records show Bartee was arrested on September 3 and charged with felony counts of cocaine possession and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Because of his scuffle with jail staff on Sunday, Bartee also was charged with a felony count of assaulting a public servant. His criminal history in Harris County dates back to 2006 and includes convictions for drug charges and assault.

The sheriff's office declined to identify the suspended jailers or disclose video footage of the incident, citing an ongoing investigation by the district attorney. The District Attorney's Office could choose to file criminal charges against the jailers, Sullivan said. He added that he was unsure how long the jailers have been employed with the sheriff's department, but said they each started before 2015.

The jailers are on paid leave until the investigation concludes, per department policy.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.