2 detention officers fired, charged with assault in Durham

Anita Alston (left) and Rachel Smith (right), who were fired as Durham detention officers (Durham Sheriff's Office).

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Two detention officers in Durham have been fired for using unreasonable force, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

The Sheriff’s Office said, “After a thorough investigation, a clear cut violation of policy was sustained and both Detention Officers … were terminated from the Sheriff’s Office.”

Anita Louise Alston and Rachel L. Smith were charged with Simple Assault and Misdemeanor Obstruction of Justice after detention officers were seen “utilizing force which appeared to be beyond the amount reasonably necessary to restrain a detainee,” officials said.

Sheriff Mike Andrews said, “Detention Officers work in a very difficult and complex environment. Many times they work in a pod and supervise 50 or more persons, some of whom are hostile and suffer from mental difficulties.

“It is important that detention officers follow Sheriff’s Office guidelines when interacting with the inmate population,” Andrews said.

WNCN reached out to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office for more details and received this statement via email: “As this is now a criminal case and has been turned over to the DA’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office will not be making any further comment on this case,” Capt. Don Baker said.


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