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Lessons learned from Dylann Roof's jail shower assault, says sheriff's office

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - An internal investigation into the beating of condemned church shooter Dylann Roof while he was in the jail's custody shows how the attack happened and what is being done at the Charleston County Detention Center now to prevent similar attacks.

The sheriff's office blames inattentive jail employees and other issues in a nine-page report released Monday by the agency. It offers new insight into what investigators deem to be complacency by jail employees.

Last August, Roof was attacked during his one hour of recreation time inside the detention center. Roof was taking a shower when another inmate, Dwayne Stafford, left his cell and ran to the shower area to hit Roof.


It all happened in the jail's special management unit.

"We cannot fall complacent during the course of our tasks, our duties," said Maj. Eric Watson.

Watson admits detention deputies failed to follow policies and procedures that led to Stafford beating up the avowed white supremacist.


"In that environment, it's easy to fall prey to complacency. You do the same thing over and over again so it becomes kind of monotonous and tedious at times and you get kind of laxed. In this situation, that's what happened," Watson said.

The internal report reveals how complacency led to Stafford jamming his cell door open so he could escape and attack Roof. No one noticed the door was unlocked for 12 hours.


Officials with the sheriff's office say that's a preventable security breach covered by current protocols.

"The policies that we have in place are adequate. You cannot write a policy for everything. Sometimes you have to use a little common sense," Watson said.

Another deputy was taking a break when they were supposed to be guarding the unit.

Watson says the officers on duty during the incident were given verbal counseling and remedial training. He thinks the internal investigation of how Roof was attacked is a stern reminder of how rules need to be followed at all times for inmate safety.

"Why they're there that's not our main concern. Our main concern is to protect them," he said.

Roof is still being housed at the jail in North Charleston while Solicitor Scarlett Wilson decides whether to proceed with the murder case against Roof now that federal prosecutors secured the death penalty for his hate crimes.

That case is indefinitely delayed.

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