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June 27, 2022

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Clark corrections deputy focus of assault investigation

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter

A Clark County corrections deputy is under criminal investigation after he is suspected of assaulting an inmate, according to the sheriff’s office.

James D. Winters, a 26-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was placed on administrative leave on June 29 after an internal investigation turned into a criminal investigation, Undersheriff Mike Cooke said.

The Vancouver Police Department is leading the investigation into allegations that Winters physically assaulted an inmate, Cooke said.

The inmate, whose name was not released, did not require medical attention as a result of the altercation, Jail Chief Ric Bishop said. The date of the alleged incident was not given. Bishop would only say that the internal investigation began on June 14.

The Vancouver Major Crimes Unit began its criminal investigation around July 5 and forwarded the completed investigative material to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review of charges on Aug. 7, Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

Clark County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield said that the case is under review for possible charges.

Another corrections deputy was recently fired after facing criminal charges alleging sexual misconduct.

Christopher North, 29, of Vancouver faces allegations of second-degree custodial sexual misconduct and indecent liberties with forcible compulsion. North was placed on administrative leave July 13 and was fired on Thursday.

Cooke said that the recent incidents of alleged misconduct are not indicative of a more systemic problem with the jail or its staff.

“We don’t paint all of our employees with a broad brush based on the actions of a few,” Cooke said. “The sheriff and I still have complete confidence in our corrections deputies and with the sheriff’s office. The size that we are, just like any other employer we will have issues with our employees. The important thing is that we address those issues head-on when they do arise.”

Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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