Prison Ordered to Hire Back Guards Fired over an Officer’s Murder Because Everybody Else Was Awful, Too

"Did anybody specifically tell him not to abandon his coworkers in a room full of convicted felons? Hmm?"Wash. Dept. of CorrectionsIn 2011, Officer Jayme Biendl was strangled by an inmate inside the Monroe Correctional Complex prison chapel in Monroe, Wash.

Prison officials put the blame on three guards and fired them, accusing them of dereliction of duty and attempting to mislead investigators trying to figure out what happened. The Daily Herald reported in 2012 about the complaints against one of the guards fired. He was supposed to have been watching the inmates leaving the chapel, but he was not at his post and they didn’t know where he was. His absence allowed an inmate to circle back into the chapel and strangle Biendl. The inmate is now on death row for the murder.

So, today an arbitrator reversed the firings and ordered the corrections department to bring them back on, with back pay. They were represented by the Teamsters Union who complained that officials were “pointing fingers” and not looking at “underlying problems.”

Here is how the arbitrator explained why these three guards shouldn’t be held accountable, again according to The Daily Herald:

Michael Cavanaugh, the arbitrator, found that safety problems were widespread at the prison, and that it was unfair to blame individual employees for institutional complacency at the time of Biendl's murder, according to the 54-page ruling released Tuesday.

The arbitrator was less convinced that officers had been dishonest about what happened that night. He said some of the discrepancies in their statements could be attributed to sloppiness and inattention to detail, as well as poor job performance and bad supervisory practices.

They weren’t lying to investigators! They were just bad at their jobs and you can’t just fire somebody because he’s bad at his job! Especially when other people are bad at their jobs, too!

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  • Jordan||

    Prison Ordered to Hire Back Guards Fired over an Officer’s Murder Because Everybody Else Was Awful, Too

    So the officers employed the Shreeeeek defense.

  • sloopyinca||

    Seriously, fuck unions sideways with a rusty chainsaw. Without them, there would be no bullshit arbitration policy in place and these cretins would be out of a job if not criminally prosecuted.

  • Agammamon||

    You know what, screw 'em.

    1. These people worked in a dangerous environment and didn't hold their peers to a useful standard. Instead they said 'its someone else's responsibility to ensure my coworkers have my back'.

    2. After this little example, if you're still working there then you just want to die, horribly.

  • Agammamon||

    Every single one of those CO's not let go should be screaming at their union rep for pulling this shit.

    These guys aren't garbagemen for chrissakes, where the worst that happens with a bad partner is some garbage doesn't get picked up on time.

    Personally, the guy who wasn't on station should never have been around long enough to get fired. Everyone else on that shift should have taken him out and beat him to death.

  • sloopyinca||

    There's always the possibility that they let the inmate kill him intentionally. And by "possibility", I mean "strong likelihood".

  • Agammamon||

    I can't even fathom how the guy who walked off post and let an inmate kill another guard could even contemplate coming back to work there.

    How could you look those people in the eye everyday after a fuck-up like that?

  • sloopyinca||

    How could you look those people in the eye everyday after a fuck-up like that?

    Easy. 1. They let the guy get killed on purpose and the other guards knew.
    or 2. They care more about the union than they do self-respect.

  • Killazontherun||

    Sloopy, I think you nailed it.

  • ||

    Is there a link to the actual arbitrator's report? Ime, they make the right decision almost every time, but I'd rather read the report itself, not some media analysis OF the report.

    The lying thing is key. At least where I work, that;'s an automatic dismissal. Sounds like that was the key reason for the dismissal and it was found not to be sound. Sloppy ? Yes. Dishonest? no

    But again, I don't rely on media to interpret for me, I'd read the report myself and then come to a conclusion. For example, did the arbitrator accept any discipline short of termination? That would be a key point to know.

    If anybody has a link to the arb report, please post it. I've posted a link to a few arb reports. They are often online.

    The article makes it sound like the primary reason they were fired was dishonesty/coverup, which the arb found to be bogus. But the devil is in the details.

  • sloopyinca||

    Sloppy ? Yes. Dishonest? no

    Sloppy? SLOPPY????? Their negligence directly led to the death of a colleague and all you can do is call it "sloppy"? You're a vile cocksucker.

    And those lies or even potential lies in an investigation would have at the least resulted in charges of obstruuction, filing a false police report and myriad other charges if a "civilian" had misled cops.

    From the arbitrator's report: That officer was not properly supervised and rules weren't consistently enforced about remaining at his post, the arbitrator wrote.

    I don't care how they were enforced. He had a post. He left it. It led to a rapist having access to the other "officer" which he used to kill her. If you think for a second that piece of filth deserves his job back under any circumstances, then I hope you die in a fire tonight.

  • dinkster||

    Prison guards, truly a limited resource.

  • ||

    The guy left his post and it resulted in the death of another officer? Please tell me you aren't defending him.

  • sloopyinca||

    He's defending the process...excuse me, I meant to say the union contract-established due process...that civilians would have been afforded if they did the same thing in a privately-owned prison.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Dumpy, dumpy, dumpy...

    I wouldn't have expected even your knee-jerk excusing of incompetence among the costumed goon profession to include someone whose incompetence got one of your brother goons killed.

    -jcr

  • feudalserf||

    You guys know the strangled officer was a woman, right? To me, that makes the other guards' behavior worse.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Michael Cavanaugh, the arbitrator, found that safety problems were widespread at the prison, and that it was unfair to blame individual employees for institutional complacency at the time of Biendl's murder,

    With all due respect to Mr. Cavanaugh, whatever problems exist in the prison as a whole were not at issue. The issue should have been, "but for actions of the terminated guard, would Jamie Biendl have been strangled to death when she was?"

    The arbitrator was less convinced that officers had been dishonest about what happened that night. He said some of the discrepancies in their statements could be attributed to sloppiness and inattention to detail, as well as poor job performance and bad supervisory practices.

    Could be attributed to sloppiness? I'm sure we could just as easily attribute the discrepencies to malice. But for some reason, let's excuse incompetence that results in the death of a co-worker because...there wasn't someone there to supervise/hold the incompetent's hand?

  • sloopyinca||

    In Unionopia, there are no consequences for individuals when a higher power can be blamed. The collective is responsible for the actions of the individual.

    If you want more proof, just look who pays when a rogue cop decides to smash a person's face into the base of a wall and paralyze him. Hint: it ain't the cop, the department or their pension plan.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I recently met a guy who'd gotten back from some war or other and was looking for a job as a prison guard...but couldn't find one. Now I know why...these geniuses grabbed all the guard jobs.

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