Two jailers facing criminal charges after reportedly assaulting inmate at detention center
NEWKIRK, Okla. (KOKH) —
Jailers at the Kay County Detention Center are facing criminal charges after hitting an inmate who was in a restraint chair. The charging documents filed in Kay County say the incident was caught on surveillance video.
According to the criminal probable cause affidavit, Zane Vandaveer and Danial Vandaveer took inmate Christopher Branham into a holding area in a restraint chair. Investigators say Branham was being uncooperative and making verbal threats against the officers. Investigators say Branham spat on the officers and was placed in protective helmet and spit hood.
Early in the morning on September 26, the court records say both Vandaveers went to check on Branham and release his arms for proper circulation. During this time Branham continued to be uncooperative and spat on Danial. Court records say Danial head butted Branham and wiped the spit back onto him before leaving the holding cell.
Investigators noted that Zane and another officer continued to try and secure Branham. While Zane was reattaching the chin strap of the protective helmet, the inmate spat in Zane’s face. The court documents say Zane proceeded to hit Branham while he was restrained up to 14 times in the head and face.
The court documents say Zane, “then stepped back, picked up his hat, and then hit Christopher Branham again. Then as Zane Vandaveer was leaving Holding 1, he turned and kneed Christopher Branham in the face.”
According to the jail supervisor, Branham apologized for his behavior and said he did not want anything to happen to Zane because he was the cause of the problems. “I caused Zane to get upset and mad, it was all my fault,” the investigator wrote in the affidavit.
The jail reported Zane resigned from his position later that afternoon and admitted to letting his emotions get the better of him according to court documents.
Both Zane and Danial Vandaveer are facing misdemeanor assault and battery charges. Branham is facing felony charges for spitting on the officers.
This is not the first incident involving the Kay County Detention Center. Last month, a prosecutor declined to file a misdemeanor assault charge against another jailer despite video evidence showing a “crucifixion” cuffing procedure that left an inmate bleeding from the wrists after being stretched out for an extended period of time.
In another incident, video evidence was destroyed that showed jail staff putting an African American inmate in with white gang members which resulted in a fight. The jail administrator blamed the lack of an investigation and destruction of video evidence in that case on a now deceased former staff member.