Jailers fired for 'unnecessary' force with inmate

Two Richmond County jailers were fired last month after a fight with an inmate in his cell.

Deputies Derek Neal and Joshua Parker were let go from the sheriff's office after an altercation with 18-year-old Charles Kellam, who refused to leave his cell at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road on Nov. 19.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Thursday the incident occurred when one of the deputies was questioning Mr. Kellam about a radio that was taken from another inmate.

When Mr. Kellam refused to leave his cell, Deputy Neal began fighting with him, Sheriff Strength said. Deputy Parker then joined in the fight.

"After the internal investigation and reading these statements I felt the force used was unnecessary," Sheriff Strength said.

The sheriff drew a distinction between "unnecessary" and "excessive" force.

"It is unnecessary once we get a man down and he's subdued," Sheriff Strength said. "It's over."

Mr. Kellam was in the jail for a probation violation.

Deputy Parker had been working for the department since May 2008, while Deputy Neal had been employed since November 2007, according to Sheriff's Lt. Pat Young.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.