Meck County Sheriff says 3 detention officers attacked by inmate with ‘homemade weapon’

CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after three detention center officers were assaulted earlier this week.

According to officials, two Direct Action Response Team (D.A.R.T) officers and a Detention Sergeant at the Mecklenburg County Detention in uptown were injured during a Tuesday encounter with 39-year-old Eric Henderson, an inmate at the jail.

Just before 9 p.m., D.A.R.T officers Simpson, Huff and Sgt. Clyburn tried to move Henderson to a disciplinary detention unit, but he refused to listen to commands and stabbed Officer Simpson with “homemade weapons,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.

Officer Simpson was taken to the hospital for his injuries but was later released. Officials said he is expected to be OK.

Officer Huff and Sgt. Clyburn suffered minor injuries during the altercation, authorities said.

“As soon as I was alerted of the incident, I went to the hospital and stayed with two of the officers until they were released. Both are in good spirits and eager to return to work,” Sheriff Garry L. McFadden said. “I do not take these incidents lightly and will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of detention center staff and residents who are housed in our care.”

McFadden said he called a mandatory meeting with detention staff on Wednesday morning and it was determined that a breakdown in communication and lack of adhering to protocol could have contributed to the assault.

“We have experienced staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic and our detention officers have been tasked with working overtime,” the sheriff said. “Many residents have not seen their family members in-person since 2019, in addition to missing court dates and minimal movement inside the housing unit. These factors have put a strain on the agency and its operations, but we will continue to address and adjust our operations as we have done since the onset of the pandemic.”

On Oct. 29, more than 80 detention center staff members conducted a 12-hour safety and security check of the detention facility.

“Unfortunately, we know that no matter how swiftly we act to search our facilities for weapons or contraband, residents can recreate these items in less than 24 hours,” McFadden said.

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