HOULTON, Maine — An inmate was charged with two felony counts of assault on a corrections officer after an incident late Monday afternoon at the Aroostook County Jail.
Darrell Crandall, chief deputy of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department, said Tuesday evening that the incident took place inside the cell that was housing Anthony Griffin, 20, of Caribou.
According to Crandall, a corrections officer noticed that a window inside Griffin’s cell had been blocked with paper, which is prohibited. When the officer went into the cell to investigate, he caught Griffin with a towel wrapped around his neck, apparently trying to choke himself, the chief deputy said.
As the officer tried to intervene, Crandall said that Griffin jumped the officer, punching and kicking him in the face. A second officer came to the aid of the first and also was punched, choked and scratched by Griffin, according to the chief deputy.
The officers reportedly then gained control of Griffin, restrained him and then took him to the segregation area of the jail.
The officers suffered minor injuries, Crandall said Tuesday evening. The inmate was not injured.
An investigation was launched by a detective with the Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday, leading to the charges against Griffin.
Crandall said that Griffin initially was brought to the jail in February and had just been released on Sept. 24. Six days later, the Caribou Police Department arrested him on charges of burglary, theft and violation of conditions of release. Griffin had been back in the facility for about four hours when the incident occurred, the chief deputy said.
If convicted of the assaults, Griffin faces up to five years in prison.
Crandall lauded jail staffers for their actions during the incident and said that the safety of the staff and inmates is the department’s first priority. He said that all incidents of abuse of staff would be prosecuted.