Untrained, 18-year-old jailer seen on tape hitting inmate

Friday, October 20th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Muskogee-AP) -- The Muskogee County sheriff is defending a program that hires young employees in the city's detention center.

Sheriff Cliff Sinyard's comments come after an 18-year-old high school senior who was hired for the program was seen on videotape hitting a mentally ill inmate.

The August 27th incident was recorded by a jail security camera. A state jail investigation report says the tape shows Shawn Bemo using his fist to hit prisoner Beatrice Page.

Sinyard says the program is working well and that this incident is the first problem reported involving a member of the program.

Bemo says he hopes to have a career in law enforcement, but never received training before going to work at the jail.

District Attorney John David Luton says he's surprised that untrained high school students are in contact with inmates. Luton says that could submit the county to a large level of liability.