Sheriff: Deputy fired for unshackling inmate who escaped
Jul. 17, 2017
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A sheriff's deputy has been fired in South Carolina after she took off the handcuffs and shackles of a hospitalized inmate so he could use the bathroom and the prisoner ran out of the building, authorities said.
Mariel Watson was taken to Trident Medical Center in North Charleston after police officers thought he swallowed drugs when he was arrested Friday, Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said.
The deputy was watching Watson in his hospital room after he was being observed for possibly swallowing the drugs. Officers are not supposed to remove handcuffs or shackles for inmates when they use the bathroom, Lewis said at a news conference.
"We have rules, we have policies and we have procedures in place. If you follow those, these types of thing won't happen," Lewis said.
The sheriff did not release the deputy's name, but said she had been in law enforcement for several years.
Watson was taken back into custody early Monday morning about 3 miles (5 kilometers) away.
"It's a lot of swamp - he was wet. He had gone through an ordeal," Lewis said.
Watson was arrested Friday by Goose Creek police and charged with providing false information, resisting arrest and unlawful carrying of a firearm. He is also wanted in Georgia for failing to register as a sex offender. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.
The sheriff said his investigators checked the escape thoroughly and think the deputy was negligent and didn't want to help Watson escape.