Jail employee, deputy sheriff involved in detention center fight

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By Jeff D'Alessio

Hardin County Jailer Danny Allen stressed his staff’s continued commitment to working with all law enforcement officers at a news conference Wednesday about an altercation a week ago involving a jail employee and Hardin County sheriff’s deputy.

The News-Enterprise filed an open records request Friday seeking a video as well as arrest citation of an incident that resulted in the arrest of Joseph W. Funk, 28, a Hardin County Detention Center employee. Funk is charged with third-degree felony assault of a probation/police officer, menacing and resisting arrest.

Funk has a District Court appearance Friday, officials said this week.

In the arrest citation obtained by The News-Enterprise, Deputy Clennon Smith describes handing property belonging to an inmate to Funk.

Funk is accused of throwing the property back at the deputy, yelling “stop putting property through the damn gate and stood up out of his chair.”

Funk then is said to have moved from around the booking gate and got in front of the deputy in a “threatening manner/fight stance,” according to the citation. The deputy then pushed Funk away and Funk is said to have grabbed the arms of the deputy. When the deputy told Funk to get on the ground, he was grabbed by another jail employee. The deputy, according to the citation, told jail employees Funk was under arrest.

Funk was told several times, according to the citation to put his hands behind his back and he refused. The deputy then brought Funk to the ground where “he continued to resist,” according to the arrest report. The deputy said he still was being grabbed by other jail employees.

Smith said he hit Funk with “empty hard-hand strikes” and managed to get Funk in handcuffs.

Jail employee statements distributed by Allen in an information packet given to media Wednesday said the argument became physical after the deputy “lunged” at Funk. Photographs of Funk, also released by Allen, show redness around his face and neck, including possible signs that he was choked.

The altercation occurred at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Hardin County Sheriff John Ward, who participated in the brief news conference, acknowledged Tuesday  there was an incident at the jail. He said his office reviewed the case and the deputy was not suspended.

“All I’m going to say at this time is there’s an open investigation,” Ward said.

Allen said he referred the open records request to the county attorney's office and was acting on the advice of counsel. Daily calls to County Attorney Jenny Oldham have gone unreturned.

Funk never was booked into the detention center. Third-degree assault is a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison, if convicted.