Commonwealth Journal

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May 13, 2014

Fiscal court suspends deputy jailer without pay

Somerset — Pulaski Fiscal Court voted unanimously to suspend a deputy jailer without pay pending the outcome of assault charges against him.

Mark A. Hammond, 36, of Hope Way in Somerset, was arrested last week at his home after he allegedly injured another person in a domestic incident.

Hammond was suspended for five days by Pulaski Jailer Mike Harris. Any further disciplinary action had to come from fiscal court, and they opted for the unpaid suspension after a brief executive session during yesterday’s regular meeting.

“The suspension will be valid until the court case is resolved,” said Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield. “The suspension will be in effect until fiscal court comes back and lifts the suspension or terminates (Hammond).”

Robert Norfleet, Hammond’s attorney, thought the unpaid suspension was harsh.

“Mr. Hammond would like to request privacy  during this difficult time for him, his girlfriend and his children,” Norfleet said. “This is a family matter and a very sensitive process.

“Obviously the suspension from his employment without pay creates a severe financial hardship for Mr. Hammond and his family,” Norfleet added. “However, with that said, I am not sure what the basis for Mr. Hammond’s suspension without pay is because, 1, he is not being suspended for conduct that was related to his employment and, 2, previous county employees with pending criminal charges were not likewise suspended without pay during the process.”

According to the arrest citation, filed by Somerset Police Officer William Greer, the victim reported that Hammond “ ... pushed her over the sink and grabbed her by the throat then choked her.”

Greer reportedly took photos of red marks on the victim’s throat.

SPD Capt. Shannon Smith confirmed that the victim was Hammond’s live-in girlfriend. The two have a child together, according to Smith.

According to the citation, a third person in the home witnessed the alleged assault.

Hammond was charged with fourth-degree assault (domestic violence), minor injury, which is a misdemeanor.

He was lodged in the detention center after his arrest, but he posted bond and was released shortly afterward.

Hammond has been with the detention center since June of 2010.

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