A Rice County corrections officer charged with assaulting two jail inmates, seriously injuring one of them, has a history of troubling behavior, including mistreating inmates, harassing coworkers and lying when questioned about alleged policy violations.
According to documents obtained through a public records request, James David Ingham, 31, was given a 40-hour suspension in March after a series of violations, including pointing his Taser at an inmate and then lying about when he unholstered the Taser. Video footage reportedly contradicted Ingham’s statement. That incident is just one detailed in a March 20 letter sent to Ingham.
In the letter, County Administrator Sara Folsted details several issues with Ingham’s workplace conduct and lists violations of Rice County policies.
The suspension follows a series of incidents that reportedly took place between Dec. 24 and Dec. 30, 2018.
Ingham allegedly pointed his Taser at the inmate on the 25th. County Jail and Sheriff’s Office policies require officers to notify their supervisor and file a report after pointing, activating or aching their Taser. The county also found that Ingham failed to adhere to security protocols and safety rules.
Three days later, the Fire Department was called after a door Ingham allegedly slammed shut because he “got upset” with a sick inmate who needed medication. Slamming the door activated a fire alarm and firefighters were called to the jail.
Later that night, Ingham reportedly threw the medication into the inmate’s cell, didn’t watch the inmate take the medication or log it as required. During a statement to investigators, Ingham reportedly admitted to telling the inmate that “the only way the inmate was getting out of the cell was if the inmate’s heart stopped beating or if the inmate ‘s- — out a kid.’”
Folsted also enumerated several incidents between Dec. 24-30 in which Ingham reported “drew” on county-owned vehicles. In one incident, Ingham drew on the vehicles while he was supposed to be working. He reportedly told investigators that he took photos of his drawings and sent them to others on social media, intending to “pick on” a co-worker.
While making his formal statement, Ingham again admitted that he lied to a deputy about the drawings.
Folsted, in her letter, characterized the lies as insubordination.
Ingham, who has been with the county since October 2014, has a background as a security officer and served in the Minnesota Army National Guard.
He received a commendation from the Rice County Sheriff’s Office in January 2016 for his work in locating a dangerous weapon during a search of a suspect being booking into the jail.