MANSFIELD — Three corrections officers linked to the abuse of a juvenile inmate have their jobs back at the Richland County Jail.
Sgt. Kristin Gillis, Dwight Hicks and Huey Smith II were reinstated in separate rulings by arbitrators.
They were among the corrections officers tied to an incident Jan. 26, 2011, in which they reportedly left then-17-year-old prisoner Kenneth Puckett in the jail recreation area with two overhead doors open during “extreme cold” temperatures for about 2 1/2 hours.
Puckett later was convicted of felonious assault and aggravated burglary. He is serving an 11-year prison sentence.
He and his mother received a $325,000 settlement agreement from Richland County in November 2011.
Gillis, Hicks and Smith were terminated Aug. 10, 2011. Gillis was reinstated Wednesday. She did not receive back pay, but got to keep her rank. Lost pay and benefits from the date of termination to reinstatement were considered a disciplinary suspension.
Hicks was reinstated Oct. 31. His termination was reduced to a three-day suspension. Hicks was awarded back pay. The arbitrator found his alleged offense, gross neglect of duty, was without basis and it was stricken from his record.
A second offense, for willful disregard of a policy, was found to have been, in part, with cause by the arbitrator.
Smith was reinstated July 17 with back pay and no discipline.
“We received, understood and complied with the order of the arbitrator,” sheriff’s Maj. Dale Fortney said.
Gillis and George Isaman were charged with interfering with civil rights, endangering children and dereliction of duties — all misdemeanors. Charges later were dismissed in exchange for their cooperation against Rod Gallaway and Michael Reef.
Charges against Gallaway and Reef later were dismissed when they agreed to a lifetime ban from applying for any law enforcement or corrections jobs in Richland County. Their terminations were changed to resignations.
Hicks and Smith were not charged criminally, but were terminated after an investigation.
Marcia Webb, of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, became an advocate for Puckett. The News Journal was unable to reach her for comment.
What they are saying, IF you can see them. You know who is censored – lol!
Link to comments on MNJ, see what’s missing. Currently says 3 comments – lol! , you will always see your own so you don’t realize you’re getting blocked (especially if you’re not a favorable comment).
Phil SydnorIF these were State employees they would have been terminated permanantly!, Just ask the FIRED APA SUPERVISOR who’s now a Mall Cop. Definately a sad state of operations going on in Richland County, watch your backs folks, it’s an Obamanation of sorts.
Rod Gallaway · Co-Founder of the Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge at Bethe90daychangeNOWSo Mr. Derrick Hunter, I use Mr loosely, lets get this straight, Quote,Derrick Hunter I know the ordeal and people personally. I don’t know you, not friends with you and i know you don’t know the situation. so before you open your mouth and let more SH** flow, FACT. So as Jeff Foxsworthy might say, You might be an inmate.
Derrick Hunter · Works at The Columbus Dispatchimagine that, the whole richland county area is corrupt and this is just more proof! SMH
Chris Wolfgang · Top Commenter · Lucas High School, OhioRight and the poor 17 year old who got 11 years didn’t play any part in this. I’m glad they got their jobs back, and the county should get the $325K back. Its more play the race card politics. Lets face it the kid is no good, and I’m betting is going to be a burden on the states tax payers for the rest of his life. No one knows the whole story, whats true and just rarely plays any part in these incidents where the criminals have more rights than the law abiding citizen.