TUCSON – A Pima County corrections officer is fighting to get his job back after being criminally charged with assaulting an inmate.
On February 15 Mathew Granado entered an inmate’s cell at the Pima County jail. The inmate said Granado “struck him in the midsection repeatedly and then grabbed him by the throat,” according to Granado’s notice of dismissal from Sheriff Mark Napier.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office is pursuing a criminal assault charge.
Granado’s attorney, Mike Storie, said his client did nothing wrong in the inmate’s cell.
“He went in there for a valid reason to counsel an inmate who had made sort of a rude comment to him,” Storie said, “and you gotta do that. As far as the assault itself, it's being claimed by 4 inmates, all of whom are giving massively inconsistent statements, and one of the witnesses has already recanted and said it's a total lie.”
One month later 3 fights started in Granado’s pod. He did nothing to stop them, did not document them and did not send any inmates to medical evaluation, according to Napier’s letter.
“The video is very unclear,” Storie said, “and no one has talked to the inmates who are involved.”
Granado’s dismissal was effective May 26.
“Your actions have violated the core tenets of the public safety profession, serving to erode the public's trust and violating all principles of integrity,” Napier wrote. “You have clearly demonstrated you are both unwilling and unable to meet the moral standards required of department members."
Storie is hoping the county’s merit system commission will give Granado his job back later this month. He said that would be a good sign for his client’s criminal case.
“If I win with a lower burden in the civil hearing, usually the criminal charges go away,” Storie said.
If the county attorney continues to pursue the assault charge, Storie said he will still fight for his client.
“If it's not dismissed entirely we're going to have a trial in that case,” Storie said, “and we look forward to that.”
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department and the Pima County Attorney’s Office could not comment on the case because of the pending legal action.