Deputy fired, two corrections officers resign after staging inmate wrestling matches

Security cameras in the Fairfield County Jail captured the inmates and officers wrestling on video


By Ashley Silver

LANCASTER, Ohio — Three Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office employees are no longer with the agency after security video surfaced showing the officers engaging in wrestling matches with inmates.

The Lancaster Eagle Gazette reported corrections officers Kyle Archibald and Landon Talbott and Deputy Shawn Pettit organized matches with several inmates. According to Fairfield County Sheriff Alex Lape, the matches were “purely consensual,” with the inmates and officers shaking hands following the matches. However, it took a fellow corrections officer several days to report it.

"We didn't become aware of it for five days," Sheriff Lape told the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. "One of the other employees waited five days and then went to her supervisor and reported it. At that particular time when supervision became aware we placed the three on administrative leave.”

The sheriff told the Gazette he believes this is the only occurrence of this type of event, while admonishing the actions of the officers and labeling the entire incident embarrassing.

"This is ridiculous," the sheriff said. "It's unacceptable behavior and it won't be tolerated. The people of the county elected me to manage their jail and I'm going to do that to the best of my ability. I'm certain that they would not approve of this kind of stuff. It tarnishes the reputation of all the men and women of the sheriff's office that are doing this job for the right reasons."

The sheriff contacted the county prosecutor’s office to assist in investigating the matter, but the office declined to pursue criminal charges after interviewing the three officers involved. After an internal investigation by the sheriff’s department, Deputy Pettit was fired and the two corrections officers resigned. The corrections officer who failed to report the incident for five days was given a 10-day suspension.

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