Roy Junior Mathes
ROGERSVILLE — A former Hawkins County jailer was arraigned in Rogersville Wednesday on one count of misdemeanor assault for allegedly pushing an inmate face first into a jail door in February.
Roy Junior Mathes, 37, of Rogersville surrendered himself on the assault charge Wednesday morning and was arraigned before Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross.
The incident occurred on Feb. 23, two days before the inmate, Lloyd Anthony Gibson, 24, of Johnson City, was sentenced to eight years in Hawkins County Criminal Court. Gibson pleaded guilty to two counts of facilitation of aggravated robbery, two counts of facilitation to aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary. He is classified as a “career” criminal.
The alleged assault was reportedly captured on jail surveillance video.
On March 1 Lawson requested that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation take over the case. Mathes, who was a jailer for more than three years, was also fired on March 1.
On Feb. 23 Gibson was being removed from his cell after reportedly breaking the sprinkler head in his cell, causing flooding.
According to the TBI report, Mathes pushed Gibson’s body causing Gibson to strike his head against at least one jail door in the facility.
HCSO Chief Deputy Tony Allen told the Times-News Wednesday that Gibson wasn’t seriously injured, and didn’t require First Aid.
Allen acknowledged, however that Mathes’ actions with Gibson were too aggressive and inappropriate.
“Mr. Gibson said he felt that he was treated in a manner that wasn’t fitting to what he did,” Allen said. “He busted a sprinkler head and they went to investigate it. Mr. Gibson was taken out of his holding cell and placed in the booking area.”
Allen said it’s possible that Mathes’ actions were the result of stress caused by Gibson’s vandalism, and the problems those incidents cause for corrections officers. Sprinkler vandalism is fairly common in the Hawkins County Jail and causes manpower issues, as well as extensive cleanup.
“A corrections officer’s job is already very stressful, and very busy,” Allen said. “I think he could have slowed down a little bit and assessed the situation a little bit better than he did.”
Allen added, “I would say that he could have waited until the door got open completely before he went through it. (Gibson) was pushed through the door before it was fully opened, but not to the point where (Gibson) suffered damage to his body. It was a little bit over-aggressive.”
Mathes was released on $1,000 bond and is scheduled for trial in Hawkins County Sessions court on Nov. 11.