7 MCSO deputies disciplined over mistaken inmate releases

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Seven Marion County Sheriff’s deputies were disciplined Monday, following an internal affairs investigation into a set of mistaken releases at the Marion County Jail. The latest case, first reported by I-Team 8, marks at least the eighth mistaken release by the department in 2014.

It follows what the Marion County Sheriff’s Office first called a “possible transportation error” involving two inmates.

Rajan Pratt, 18, and Tiarra Duff, 20, were arrested on Aug. 19 and initially charged with felony criminal recklessness and misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license for allegedly firing a gun into a building. Duff also faces a felony neglect of a dependent charge.

According to the MCSO, a subsequent investigation found that Pratt and Duff were released from the Arrestee Processing Center and transported “prematurely” to Marion County Community Corrections without ever posting bond, as required by the court. Both suspects were outfitted with electronic GPS monitoring devices, the department said.

Court records show both cases were transferred to a higher felony court while they were out of MCSO custody, and bond was raised to $30,000. Both Pratt and Duff were re-arrested when they appeared for court three days after their release.

As a result of the two-week long internal investigation, Sheriff John Layton fired Deputy Diana Patton, according to MCSO spokesperson Katie Carlson. Deputy Matthew Renner was issued a 40-hour suspension, and jail commanders Lt. Col. Royce Cole, Capt. Darrell Smith and Capt. Mark Hurt were each issued eight-hour suspensions.

Two additional deputies — Lt. Dawn Payne and Sgt. Toby Douce — were issued Letters of Caution, according to Carlson.

Court records show Duff posted bond, and is now free on electronic monitoring and home detention awaiting trial. Pratt remains in the Marion County Jail.

The Sheriff’s Department has admitted to mistakenly releasing six other inmates this year.Sheriff John Layton’s November election opponent Emmitt Carney claims at least eight previous inmates have been mistakenly released in 2014. He also claims 22 total inmates have been mistakenly released since Layton took office in 2011.

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