HCJ officer charged with battery after encounter with inmate

Jan. 21—A former Howard County corrections officer is now facing a battery charge after an alleged encounter with a female inmate earlier this month.

Colin M. Byrd, 22, was summoned on a Level 6 felony charge of battery resulting in moderate bodily injury for his alleged connection to the incident that reportedly left a Howard County Jail inmate with trauma to her facial area, per online court records.

According to department officials, Byrd had also been disciplined in the past for a similar use of force incident.

His recent charge stems from a complaint the Howard County Sheriff's Department received from the inmate Jan. 3, alleging she was battered by a corrections officer, according to a department media release.

The complaint was then forwarded to the department's Criminal Investigations Unit for review.

Further investigation revealed that prior to the alleged incident, the female needed to be removed from her cell and placed into a restraint due to previous issues, the release indicated.

So, investigators stated in the release, the woman was placed in handcuffs and escorted by Byrd to a different cell down the hall.

Once outside that cell, per the release, the female inmate was then allegedly leg swept by Byrd and taken to the floor, causing her to suffer a laceration above her right eye that required emergency room medical attention.

Investigators later interviewed Byrd, who said the female pushed into him while they were standing by the cell, according to the media release.

Byrd added he believed he was going to lose control of positioning, so he put his leg in front of the woman and put her on the floor face down, per his interview with police.

In that same interview, Byrd reportedly told investigators that he "probably could have handled the situation a little differently and that he didn't mean to take her to the ground so hard," per the release, though he did state he felt he handled himself in a "proper manner."

In the end, investigators concluded the female inmate was placed in handcuffs behind her back and was being escorted inside a secure facility with no chance of escape, the release noted, and the risk to Byrd's safety was minimal.

Byrd — who had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation — has since been terminated from his position at the HCJ.

His upcoming pretrial conference date is still pending.