Jailer accused of beating inmate turns himself in

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Updated: 6/08/2013 2:29 pm Published: 6/07/2013 12:12 am

FOX23 has learned a jailer accused of beating an inmate has turned himself in.

Deputies say 32-year-old James Keener stepped out of line when confronting an inmate over Memorial Day weekend.

"The inmate wasn't being aggressive," said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault.

FOX23 obtained video that captured the argument that led to the inmate, Justin Yandell, ending up in the hospital.

A 19-page investigative report said the argument started when Keener confronted Yandell about stealing calling cards from other inmates. When Yandell walked away, Keener followed and bear-hugged the inmate before body-slamming him, according to the report.

Administrators told FOX23 as soon as they read the report they pulled the video and then called the Sheriff's Office.

"We determined from interviewing other detention center officers the detention officer himself might have provoked the fight," said Chennault.

He said Keener was fired Monday. The District Attorney's Office filed misdemeanor assault and battery against Keener on Tuesday. Chennault said Yandell suffered minor head injuries and was sent to the Tahlequah City Hospital that night to be checked out.

"He skipped some steps. He shouldn't have never went hands on with him. The inmate wasn't being aggressive," Chennault said. "People in jail are still people. Just because they're in jail, they're incarcerated, doesn't mean we can treat them like this."

Deputies tell FOX23 Keener turned himself in around midnight Wednesday.

Some jailers told FOX23's Dontaye Carter that Keener served 10 years in the Armed Forces and believe he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

If convicted, Keener could spend less than a year in jail.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Muskogee has requested to look at the investigation. Keener could face additional charges there.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

annburk - 8/28/2013 3:15 AM
0 Votes

annburk - 8/28/2013 3:14 AM
0 Votes

annburk - 8/28/2013 3:10 AM
0 Votes
This is common here at cherokee http://tahlequahdailypress.com/local/x1344831354/Inmate-s-suspicious-injury-investigated?mobRedir=false they hide and cover up this persons family was told that no way was his injuries from a fall wich is what they would like you to believe this victum suffered sever damage to the front side and back of the brain.

Unwashed Mass - 6/8/2013 9:51 PM
1 Vote
He's not a hero, he abused his authority and brutalized a restrained prisoner to the point where not even his co-workers will defend him. He should be in prison, but since he still has law enforcement privileges that wont happen. At a minimum, he should have his CLEET work permit taken from him so he cant go to another state and do this again.

oklahoma - 6/8/2013 12:26 AM
0 Votes
This man is not the vicious cold blooded person that some of you must think. He volunteers his time, service, and knowledge to many individuals around his community. We were not there, yes we may have seen a video. But does that tell the whole story. Does anyone know Yandell? Do you know the kind of person he is? Still, that does not make it right. This man lives a normal life, does not bother anyone, and would always help his fellow man if in need. He isn't out breaking law. He lives his life and takes care of his own. This guy served every single American body in this country for a very long time, very long time, so that we may live our lives as we please. He fought for you and me and all the prisoners too. But he did it because that is what his country asked of him, he asked no questions back. What is the world coming to when we are doing more for the safety of inmates than for the safety of our children? When teachers are getting disciplined for disciplining students? Look at all the crooked cops out there? Why do we run this man's life on t.v. and shame him, but we let child molesters and murderers walk and live a cozy life. But bc of him being a soldier we attack harder? Take a look people. This is not a bad man. He covered our government's a** when they got themselves in a bind, where was this man's government when he needed it? What is this world coming to.

oklahoma - 6/8/2013 12:11 AM
0 Votes

Unwashed Mass - 6/7/2013 11:44 AM
1 Vote
"Keener...suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder" So much for pre-employment screening. How many other jailers are war heroes carrying psychological baggage?

Unwashed Mass - 6/7/2013 11:40 AM
2 Votes
This is not Cherokee County's first problem with brutal, corrupt jailers caught on video. Do some digging, folks.

WyoMoe - 6/7/2013 7:25 AM
0 Votes
I dont see what the problem was!
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