KOKOMO, Ind. — A Howard County corrections officer has been charged with battery after he leg swept a handcuffed inmate, causing facial injuries that required an emergency room visit, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office said.
On Jan. 3, the sheriff’s office received a complaint from a woman who was incarcerated in the Howard County Jail that accused corrections officer Colin M. Byrd, 22, of battery.
HCSO said an investigation revealed that the woman, who was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Jan. 2, was engaging in “tumultuous behavior” and yelling expletives towards corrections officers from her cell. Video showed her banging the phone inside the cell against the cell door.
“Due to her conduct and to prevent the further destruction of property, it was determined that she would be removed from her cell and placed into a WRAP restraint,” said HCSO .
A court document states that Byrd then grabbed a WRAP restraint and entered the cell to place her in handcuffs. Once cuffed, Byrd walked her out of the cell and escorted her down the hall toward the padded cell area. He then “suddenly sweeps her leg and takes her to the floor,” described a court document. This caused a laceration above her right eye that required emergency room medical attention, said the sheriff’s office.
“It is hard to see any reasoning based on the camera footage as to why Byrd took such action,” states a court document.
During the investigation, a detective found that Byrd had been involved in a similar incident in November of 2022 in which he used his leg to take a handcuffed inmate to the ground, causing facial injuries. Byrd was verbally reprimanded as a result.
A court document details a meeting between the detective and Byrd, during which Byrd initially stated that he believed he conducted himself in a proper manner. The two watched the video footage together.
“Byrd stated that although the footage doesn’t show her furtive movements very well, he felt her push into him,” the document says. “In doing so, he believed he was going to lose control of positioning, therefore, he put his leg in front of her and put her on the floor face down.”
The detective asked Byrd to physically illustrated the movements made by the inmate.
“There was no mistaken I was thrown off balance,” the detectives says in the document. “However, in reviewing the footage I didn’t see that type of movement coming from either Byrd or (the inmate).”
When questioned by the detective, Byrd admitted that he was frustrated by the woman’s behavior throughout the night and could have handled the situation differently.
“He stated that he really didn’t mean to take her to the ground that hard so he could see where it may have been considered a bit excessive in his force,” says the court document.
When asked if he had learned the leg sweep move through training, Byrd said he did not and it was just something he picked up during his time as a corrections officer.
The investigation concluded that the risk to Byrd’s safety was minimal as the inmate was placed in handcuffs behind her back while inside a secured facility with no chance of escape.
On Jan. 20, a summons for Byrd was issued for battery resulting in moderate bodily injury — a level 6 felony.