Shelby corrections officer's first of two arrests goes unnoticed - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby corrections officer's first of two arrests goes unnoticed

(WMC-TV) – Neighbors say they could hear the screams from a unit at an Old Horn Lake Road apartment complex one night last week.  A woman pleaded for a man to stop hitting her in front of her four-year-old daughter.

They didn't realize the man arrested once officers arrived was an officer of sorts himself.  He was a corrections officer for Shelby County's Division of Corrections.

"They should know better," said one neighbor.

28-year-old Matthew Harris was charged with domestic assault and vandalism after police say he also punched his fists through two television sets. According to an affidavit, he told the victim "BLANK I'll hurt you, I'm a penitentiary BLANK."

"Unfortunately, he seemed to have problems on the outside," said Corrections Director James Coleman.

Coleman said Harris resigned in lieu of termination Monday morning but may have faced being fired last May if another arrest for assault had not gone unnoticed.

"When an individual is arrested and they know they're an employee, then we get a phone call," said Coleman.  "This is one of those sort of gray areas where he was actually not an employee, about to become an employee, so we were not notified."

Turns out, Harris was still on probation at the time of the first arrest and had just passed a background check.  He did not inform his bosses of his arrest.

"We're now looking at our procedures, reviewing them, to try and see how we can tighten that up even more," said Coleman.

The woman Harris is accused of assaulting this most recent time told police he was upset over losing his pinky ring.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved

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