Clallam corrections sergeant faces misdemeanor assault charge

PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County corrections sergeant is facing a misdemeanor assault charge for use of force against a woman who was being disruptive after a DUI arrest in April, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.

Wesley Adam Miner, 40, of Port Angeles will be arraigned June 19 on one count of fourth-degree assault, a gross misdemeanor. He was summoned last Tuesday to appear in Clallam County District Court.

The alleged assault occurred in the Clallam County jail in the early morning hours of April 26.

Miner was placed on paid administrative leave April 27.

Before the alleged assault, a woman who was in a holding cell after a DUI arrest was continually yelling, banging on a steel door and “making enough noise to be disruptive to the jail environment,” Undersheriff Ron Cameron said in a Sheriff’s Office news release.

The woman would not comply with Miner’s commands. Miner then used force to “direct the inmate to the floor,” Cameron said.

The woman’s head struck a wall as she went down, jail video surveillance footage showed. Miner told investigators that he did not know the woman had hit her head against the wall.

“The inmate continued to be disruptive, and the sergeant again placed the inmate onto the floor where he held her down until she complied,” Cameron said.

The woman bailed out of jail shortly after the incident. She reported the alleged assault to deputies later that morning.

A criminal investigation was begun by the Port Angeles Police Department.

The Sheriff’s Office has an ongoing internal investigation into Miner’s conduct, Cameron said.

Port Angeles Police Detective Erik Smith reviewed surveillance footage that showed Miner confronting the woman just after midnight April 26.

By that time, Miner and other corrections officers had spoken with the inmate about the noise she was making, Smith said.

“On this occasion, Sergeant Miner pushed [the woman’s] head against the cement wall of the cell,” Smith wrote in the affidavit for probable cause.

“Then, by grabbing the back of [the woman’s] neck, he pushed her down until she fell onto the bed mat behind her.”

As the woman stood up, Miner pulled the inmate’s arms across her body and pushed her left shoulder with his right hand, Smith said.

The woman followed Miner to the door of the holding cell and out of view of the camera system, Smith said.

The woman reentered the camera frame on her hands and knees. She crawled to her bed and ran her hand through her hair, Smith said.

“The hair on the front of her head appeared to have red streaks in it,” Smith wrote.

“Upon further review of the footage, it appears that there is blood on the hallway floor in front of the door to [holding cell] Y2 which was not there prior to the incident.”

The woman brought the clothing she was wearing at the time of the alleged assault to an interview with Smith.

She had what appeared to be a blood mark on her shirt and a “substantial amount” of dried blood that had been smeared onto her jeans, Smith said.

The woman displayed time-stamped, self-shot photographs that showed a cut on her left scalp line and bruising, Smith said.

“She told me that she wanted medical attention right after the assault, but was fearful that Sergeant Miner would be the one to respond to the request,” Smith said.

Minor told a Sequim police detective that he made “very minuscule” contact with the woman to calm her down.

“He reasoned that when someone is ‘that loud and obnoxious, it’s a safety concern to the jail,’ ” Smith wrote.

The alleged victim is 5-foot-3-inches tall and weighs 135 pounds. Miner is 5-foot-8-inches tall and weighs 230 pounds, Smith said.

In a Thursday interview, Cameron said the alleged assault was a “surprise” to the Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re going to respond accordingly and deal with it the best way we can,” Cameron said.

Miner started working for the Sheriff’s Office in March 2004. He was promoted to sergeant last June, Cameron said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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