Sheriff's office says 'obvious violations' by detention officer in Dylann Roof assault

Sheriff's office says 'obvious violations' by detention officer in Dylann Roof assault
Dwayne Stafford. (Source: CCDC)
Dwayne Stafford. (Source: CCDC)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office says there was "obvious violations" by a detention officer who was supposed to be watching Dylann Roof at the time an inmate assaulted the man accused in the shooting deaths of nine people at a Charleston church.

Maj. Eric Watson with the sheriff's office said on Friday afternoon that two officers were supposed to patrol the special unit where Roof was housed at all times.

According to Sheriff Al Cannon, Roof is always escorted by detention officers, but that an officer was dropping off toilet paper when the assault happened and that a second officer was taking a break, something he says is not common procedure during the time an inmate would be taking a shower.

The detention officers had been on shift for approximately 15 minutes when the Thursday assault happened, deputies say. The names of the officers have not been released.

Authorities provided access to surveillance video on Friday showing what happened right before and after Roof was assaulted in a shower at the jail.

The video shows Stafford escaping from his cell 23 minutes after Roof went downstairs to the shower.

Members of the media were allowed to view the footage, but not take pictures or video.

" [The] disclosure of video of the internal physical layout and configuration of this particular housing unit could endanger the life and health of both inmates and detention officers due to its purpose and the nature of inmates housed therein," CCSO officials said.

Cannon said Roof was let out of his cell at approximately 7:45 a.m. to take a shower. Officers checked cells in the area prior to that to make sure they were locked, he said.

But Cannon said inmate an inmate, Dwayne Stafford,  ran down the stairs and assaulted Roof quickly before Roof had stepped into the shower.

The fight was broken up by detention officers, Cannon said.

Detention officers responded quickly and separated the two and an investigation was immediately launched, Cannon said.

Cannon said Roof suffered some bruising around his face and on his back, Cannon said.

Roof and his attorneys are not pressing charges in the assault.

"Given the circumstances surrounding this incident, an internal investigation and review will be conducted by the Sheriff's Office, Office of Professional Standards," CCSO officials stated in a press release.

Roof, charged with murder in the deaths of nine people at Mother Emanuel AME church in June 2015, is being held in solitary confinement at the Charleston County Detention Center. He is escorted out of his cell daily for recreation time and showers.

Stafford was in jail for strong armed robbery and assault and for lying to police, Cannon said.

He was released on bond Friday night.

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