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Former Lexington County correctional officer charged with misconduct in office

LEXINGTON, S.C. – A former correctional officer at the Lexington County Detention Center has been charged with misconduct in office for his alleged role in altercations with inmates last year.

William Emerson Keel Jr., 29, failed to properly and faithfully discharge his official duties Aug. 1-24, 2017, according to an arrest warrant. Keel applied a neck restraint to an inmate causing the inmate to lose consciousness, according to the warrant. The warrant also said Keel, who was not trained to use that level of force, failed to provide medical aid to the inmate.

Keel, a Columbia resident, was also involved in a physical altercation with two other inmates while on duty, according to the warrant. He failed to report both incidents as soon as he was able to do so.

“Immediately after we became aware of these events, we launched an internal review of Keel’s interaction with inmates,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “Once we determined potential criminal activity took place, we called in the State Law Enforcement Division, as is our standard procedure. We do that when a current or former employee is involved to ensure an unbiased and thorough investigation.”

Koon said he terminated Keel Oct. 20, 2017, for violating department policy. Keel was hired as a correctional officer Oct. 10, 2016.

Keel was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center Tuesday morning after turning himself in to SLED agents. He was released on his own recognizance.

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