S.C. detention officer opened inmate’s cell to allow violent attack, SLED alleges

The officer wanted the victim to “behave himself,” according to the affidavit

By Ted Clifford
The State

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A Charleston detention center officer was arrested and charged Thursday after opening an inmate’s cell door so he could be violently beaten by other inmates, according to an affidavit released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The officer wanted the victim to “behave himself,” according to the affidavit.

Shannon Burden, 38, of Holly Hill, S.C. was charged Thursday with misconduct in office, according to a statement released by SLED.

While on duty at Al Canon Detention Center in Charleston County on Sept. 13, Burden remotely unlocked the cells of two unnamed inmates who joined with two inmate “trustees,” to commit the attack, according to the affidavit.

Burden then remotely unlocked the victim’s cell, allowing the attackers to pour inside. Shutting the door behind them, the attackers allegedly began punching and kicking their victim who attempted to flee but was “restrained” and dragged back into the cell by the other inmates, according to the affidavit.

Burden “stood by and took no action,” a SLED investigator wrote.

Trustees are typically chosen from well-behaved inmates. Along with additional responsibilities, they are given more freedom to move around the jail or prison.

Burden admitted to investigators that the inmate, whose last name was given as Simmons, had “upset” her earlier in the shift, according to an affidavit provided by SLED. Burden allegedly told investigators that her intention to was to force Simmons to “behave himself.”

The incident was captured on surveillance video and Burden admitted to her actions after being given a Miranda warning, a SLED investigator wrote in the signed affidavit.

Burden was initially booked at the same detention center where she was employed. She was released the same day after posting a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. She has been ordered to have no contact with the victim or his family.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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