Columbia County deputy arrested, charged with simple battery on inmate

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A Columbia County deputy was arrested this morning and charged with simple battery on an inmate.

News 12's Domonique Benn finds out how this deputy ended up on the other side of the blue line.

Columbia County deputy Michael Thompson has been a jailer for nearly four years.

Co-workers say he was an excellent employee.

"As far as disciplinary record there is none to speak of, good employee up to this incident," says Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

The incident involved inmate Elijah Gardner.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office would not go into detail about what happened February 18, but inmate Gardner did file a grievance that was reviewed by Sheriff Clay Whittle.

Nine days later Deputy Thompson was placed on paid administrative leave.

"As a result of both investigations the deputy was terminated and arrested," says Capt. Morris.

Deputy Thompson was arrested Wednesday morning for simple battery.

"He was arrested as a result of the incident and the case will then be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution," Capt. Morris says.

While there was no physical injury to the inmate, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office says it will not tolerate excessive force.

"I think this is a case in point that Sheriff Whittle will apply the law equally to all people to all parties concerned regardless of who it is or who it may involve," says Capt. Morris.

Holding Columbia County officers accountable for their actions...a job the sheriff doesn't take lightly.

Thompson was released from the Columbia County Jail on $1100 bond.

News 12 did try to talk with him...he had no comment.

Inmate Elijah Gardner has been moved to a boot camp in Baldwin County since this incident.