Durham inmate admits she started fight that got officers fired

— Although she admits starting a fight with detention officers, Genapher Page said the two women who held her down and punched her in the head went too far.

The fight at the Durham County Jail cost Officer Anita Louise Alston and Officer Rachel L. Smith their jobs. A supervisory review determined the pair “utilized force that appeared to be beyond the amount reasonably necessary to restrain a detainee,” the Durham County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released Monday.

“I don’t feel no sympathy for them that they got fired,” Page said. “I think that’s what they deserve. I don’t think any inmate or detainee should be assaulted by an officer.”

Page said the incident happened in September when she was jailed on a felony probation violation charge that stemmed from an armed robbery case. She said Alston, Smith and a third officer came to her cell to take her to booking.

According to Page, she and Smith had a prior run-in. She said she was being escorted by the officers when her emotions boiled over.

“Smith came to my left side and I elbowed her,” Page said, before the third officer, a man, forced her to the ground.

“(He) pretty much held me down while Alston and Smith are just hitting me in the head,” she said. “Mind you, I’ve got handcuffs so I can’t even defend myself.”

Page said it took another inmate to seek out additional guards to stop the incident.

Alston and Smith were fired and, following a separate investigation, were charged with simple assault and misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

“Detention officers work in a very difficult and complex environment. Many times they work in a pod and supervise 50 or more persons, some of whom are hostile and suffer from mental difficulties. It is important that detention officers follow sheriff’s office guidelines when interacting with inmate population,” Sheriff Michael Andrews said in a statement.

Page was charged with felony assault inflicting physical injury on a detention employee, resisting an officer and communicating threats in connection with the December incident. Page remains in the Durham County Jail.

,Although she admits starting a fight with detention officers, Genapher Page said the two women who held her down and punched her in the head went too far.

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