A Pima County corrections officer charged with misdemeanor assault will be reinstated to the Sheriff’s Department, after a county review board voted Wednesday to overturn his firing.
Mathew Granado was fired in May after he allegedly assaulted an inmate and was charged with one count of assault “with intent to provoke,” according to Pima County Consolidated Justice Court records.
He appealed his termination and after six days of hearings spread over three months, the Pima County Merit System Commission decided the sheriff’s department failed to prove its case on why it fired him, said Mike Storie, Granado’s attorney.
The alleged assault took place in February. While the sheriff’s department was investigating the incident, they received reports that Granado failed to intervene in three fights that occurred between inmates assigned to his pod, sheriff’s department records show.
During Granado’s appeal hearing, the merit commission reviewed tapes from the jail that failed to prove the fights even occurred, Storie said.
While his firing was overturned and Granado will be awarded full back-pay, the commission imposed a 3-day suspension for failing to send an inmate for medical evaluation and admittedly not filing a report of the incident, according to Storie.
“I think this is a very proper result,” Storie said. “My hope is that the sheriff’s department doesn’t pre-judge employees in the future.”
During the department’s criminal investigation into the incident, four inmates said they witnessed Granado enter the victim’s cell, strike him in the midsection repeatedly and grab him by the throat, according to sheriff department records.
Granado declined to give a statement to detectives regarding the incident.
During the sheriff’s internal investigation into the incident, Granado said he went into the inmate’s cell to speak to him, but denied striking or choking him, the records said.
The assault case is still pending with a case management hearing scheduled for the end of the month, court records show.