Ex-jail officer disciplined for actions that spurred federal lawsuit

10:41 a.m. Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 Local
FILE

The former Montgomery County Jail corrections officer recently sued for his 2015 take-down of a 60-year-old woman was disciplined for his actions.

Personnel records obtained by this news organization show former Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer David E. Stemp was given a letter of caution for failing to notify supervisors of an escalating situation.

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Stemp otherwise had mostly positive performance reviews during his nearly three years working for the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office has declined to comment on Stemp’s tenure or the lawsuit. The county has not filed a response in court.

A Nov. 8, 2015, letter of caution was presented to Stemp regarding his Sept. 8, 2015, actions in which he took down Marsha Pate-Strickland in the women’s waiting area after she asked if she could have milk instead of juice with her breakfast.

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“Your failure to notify a supervisor subsequently resulted in a use of force that could have been avoided,” wrote Sgt. Thomas Feehan after an internal investigation found Stemp’s actions to be improper conduct. “Further misconduct on your part may result in more severe discipline.”

Sheriff’s office records indicate Stemp told her she could not have milk and ordered her to go into a cell.

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In his incident report, Stemp wrote that Pate-Strickland “refused to comply with orders.”

Pate-Strickland claimed she was ordered to stand up, forcefully grabbed by Stemp and “violently swung” around before her right shoulder and arm were slammed to the floor, according to the lawsuit filed against the county, Sheriff Phil Plummer and others.

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Pate-Strickland immediately complained of an injury, according to the lawsuit. Sheriff’s office documents say Pate-Strickland did not allow medical personnel to properly assess her injury and was provided an ice pack.

Pate-Strickland — who was not prosecuted after her arrest for an alleged altercation — sought medical attention at an area hospital after her release from jail. She was diagnosed with a “comminuted right humeral head/neck fracture,” according to the complaint.

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According to an internal probe, Stemp told an investigator that “he needed to protect himself immediately and thought by taking the time to call for assistance would jeopardize his safety.”

This news organization has not reached Stemp for comment.

Personnel records show Stemp is a Valley View High School graduate who attended Sinclair Community College. He was described as “showing initiative” and being “dependable” in performance reviews.

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Stemp resigned May 31, 2016, to take a full-time job with the village of Camden. Village Chief Matt Spurlock said Stemp has been promoted to the department’s senior patrol officer and is in charge of the property room.

Spurlock said Stemp, who started as part-time in late 2014, always has showed professionalism.

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Spurlock said Stemp and has a letter of commendation for his work in Camden on a February 2017 bank robbery. Spurlock said he knows of one use of force, which was found to be justified.

“He is the kind of employee that you give a job to and he will get it done, and you can guarantee it will be before the deadline,” Spurlock said. “I need more men like David Stemp.”

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