In 2003 Metro officers Christopher Brinkley and Alan Hirjak thought it would be a blast to toss illegal fireworks into a cell shared by five inmates. while working as correction officers at the Clark County Detention Center.
The June, 2003 incident went unreported until two of the inmates Earl Atchley and Erick Watson filed complaints with the Citizen Review Board two month’s later. Atchley and Watson accused the two guards of endangering the welfare of prisoners, according to Review Board documents.
The department investigated the incident to determine of the officers tossed the M-80 into the inmates cell with the intention of maliciously causing bodily harm, a major violation of Dept. policy, or simply as “a bit of a lark,” as one Metro official described the incident at the time. Apparently torturing inmates for the officer’s own amusement was seen as a less serious infraction.
An internal affairs investigation lead to both officers being suspended without pay. Hirjak, who was the senior officer with nearly a decade with Metro was suspended for 160 hours, while Brinkley, who had just completed his rookie years was suspended for 120 hours.
Both officers eventually were each ordered to pay the defendants $7,500 from their own pockets as part of settlement reached earlier this year in which Metro was on the hook for an additional $8,000.
Both officers still working as Corrections Officers today and their careers do not seem to have been negatively affected by the incident.
Brinkley, who had just completed his first year with Metro, earned $43,802 at the time of the incident. As of last year his total compensation was $120,255.23.
Hirjak had been with the department 9 years and earned $66,073 annually at the time of the incident was paid $142,085.97 in 2011.